PARIS — French authorities arrested the chief of a multinational tantric yoga group Tuesday on suspicion of indoctrinating feminine followers for sexual exploitation.
The Romanian guru on the coronary heart of the Atman Yoga Federation was detained throughout an enormous morning police operation throughout the Paris area, in line with a French judicial official, who wasn’t licensed to talk publicly about an ongoing investigation.
The French official recognized the person as Gregorian B., whom French media recognized as Gregorian Bivolaru, 71, an internationally identified yoga instructor and creator. The Atman federation, which is headquartered in England, runs yoga programs and yoga instructor trainings.
In keeping with the French official, the investigation into Bivolaru and the yoga federation, which additionally is called the Motion for Non secular Integration into the Absolute, started after reviews of psychological manipulation and sexual exploitation throughout the group. Former MISA members alerted authorities to the alleged abuses.
Bivolaru is being charged with human trafficking, organized kidnapping, rape, and arranged abuse of weak point by members of a sect, in line with French authorities.
Worldwide police company Interpol additionally has issued a discover for Bivolaru’s arrest on behalf of authorities in Finland, the place he’s wished for alleged aggravated trafficking in human beings.
The Atman federation’s web site and different websites on Bivolaru allege that he’s the sufferer of a wide-ranging plot to discredit him.
The raids in France concerned 175 law enforcement officials and resulted in 40 different arrests throughout the French capital, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, and the Alpes-Maritimes.
The operation focused a number of areas utilized by the group, the place ladies had been reportedly indoctrinated and coerced into sexual practices. The areas, described as “ashrams,” served as housing for girls chosen by Bivolaru for initiation into tantric yoga practices, in line with French authorities.
Bivolaru, who was convicted of raping a minor in his native Romania, based MISA in 1990. The group expanded internationally because the Atman Yoga Federation.
The French investigation discovered proof that college students had been coerced into sexual actions that included collaborating in specific video chats for financial acquire, in line with the judicial official. These alleged actions, purportedly carried out beneath the pretense of tantric yoga teachings, shaped part of an intricate system of monetary exploitation and management, the official mentioned.
Related Press author John Leicester contributed.
This story was first printed on November 28, 2023. It was up to date on November 29, 2023 to appropriate some references to the the title of the Atman Yoga Federation.