A 71-year-old Romanian Tantric yoga guru and 14 others have been charged in France for crimes involving an alleged international sex cult.
Gregorian Bivolaru has been charged with human trafficking, sequestration or arbitrary detention of numerous people along with rape, and “abusing the weakness of a group” via psychological or physical subjection.
Bivolaru is also accused of being involved in the kidnapping of 26 women who were seeking spiritual guidance.
The guru founded the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA), which ran many yoga schools. It was later renamed the Atman Yoga Federation, which it currently operates under.
The Paris prosecutor’s office has interrogated the 15 people and ordered six to be held on Friday, including Bivolaru. The other nine have been freed under judicial surveillance.
The Daily Mail reports:
MISA, which became known as ATMAN after its expansion beyond Romania, taught tantric yoga with the aim of ‘conditioning victims to accept sexual relations via mental manipulation techniques which sought to eliminate any notion of consent’, the source said earlier this week.
Several women, of different nationalities, said they had been victims of the MISA organisation and its leader, the source added.
Women were encouraged to accept sexual relations with the group’s leader and ‘to agree to participate in fee-paying pornographic practices in France and abroad’.
The organization is believed to have hundreds of followers in France.
Paris prosecutors launched an investigation into the group in July,
“To escape legal proceedings in Romania, Bivolaru fled to Sweden, where he obtained political asylum in 2006, changing his name to Magnus Aurolsson.
He disappeared for several years after a Romanian court condemned him in absentia to six years in prison in 2013,” the Daily Mail reports. “France arrested him in early 2016 and handed him over to Romania but he again vanished before French police detained him earlier this week.”
Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation issued an international arrest warrant for Bivolaru in 2017, for alleged aggravated human trafficking.
MISA has called the accusations about the group and Bivolaru “absurd.” They claim that the guru has been “the target since the 1990s of media campaigns seeking to discredit him.”