Pizza boxes in video posted by former kickboxer and Big Brother contestant during spat with environmentalist Greta Thunberg may have alerted police to his whereabouts
Tate, banned from many social media platforms for misogynistic comments and hate speech, and his brother Tristan will be detained for 24 hours alongside two Romanian suspects, prosecutors from the anti-organised-crime unit said in a statement after raiding their properties in Bucharest.
The Tate brothers have been under criminal investigation since April.
They declined to comment but their lawyer confirmed they had been detained.
"The four suspects ... appear to have created an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialised websites for a cost," prosecutors said.
"They would have gained important sums of money."
Prosecutors said they had found six women who had been sexually exploited by the suspects.
Tate has said women are partially responsible for being raped and that they belong to men.
Earlier this week, the British national was mocked by climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter after he Tweeted at her that he owned 33 cars with "enormous emissions."
Tate’s humiliating Twitter spat with climate activist Thunberg appeared to have led to his arrest by Romanian authorities investigating rape and human trafficking.
Tate, a former kickboxer who gained infamy for his misogynist views, was arrested by Romanian police in tactical gear after they descended on a villa where he was staying with his brother Tristan on Thursday.
It is speculated that the arrest may have never happened if he had not posted a clapback video to mock Ms Thunberg on Twitter.
Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, which had been waiting for nine months for the Tate brothers to return to Romania, mobilised forces and descended upon their villa after learning they were in the country through their social media posts, sources close to the investigation told Romanian outlet Gândul.
“Romanian authorities needed proof that Andrew Tate was in the country so they reportedly used his social media posts,” tweeted civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo, sharing a screenshot of Mr Tate’s video from the day before.
“His ridiculous video yesterday featured a pizza from a Romanian pizza chain, Jerry’s Pizza, confirming he was in the country.”
It began after Mr Tate attempted to mock Mr Thunberg and tagged the climate activist in a Twitter post, asking for her email address so he could “send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions”.
The following day, the climate activist responded with a tweet of her own, replying, “Yes, please do enlighten me. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The exchange quickly went viral, with Ms Thunberg’s post garnering millions of likes, and inspired a number of trending topics.
Mr Tate hit back by sharing a response video, telling Ms Thunberg, a Nobel Prize nominee and TIME person of the year, to “get a life”.
In the video, Mr Tate smoked a cigar in a robe and a person off-camera gave him a stack of pizza boxes from the Romanian pizza chain, Jerry’s Pizza. He tried to joke about refusing to recycle the boxes to taunt Ms Thunberg.
The Tate brothers have been under criminal investigation since April. They were detained alongside two Romanian suspects.
“The four suspects ... appear to have created an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialised websites for a cost,” prosecutors said.
The former kickboxer gained a large following of men online, and has been banned from various social media sites, for his aggressive and often misogynistic views, including that women should “shut the f*** up, have kids, sit at home, be quiet and make coffee”.
His account on Twitter was reinstated alongside Donald Trump’s and Kanye West’s following Elon Musk’s takeover.
In 2016, he was booted out of the reality TV show Big Brother, after a video emerged of him hitting a woman with a belt, and a second clip showed him telling the woman to count the bruises he had left on her body.