A total of 41 people were arrested on Tuesday November 28 in France, suspected of being linked to an international sect accused of numerous abuses under the guise of practicing yoga, we learned from judicial sources close to the investigation, confirming Liberation information.
Among those arrested is Gregorian Bivolaru, 71, the Romanian guru and founder of this controversial international yoga movement, said the source close to the investigation. Other alleged “important leaders” of the sect in France were arrested, in the Paris region and in the Alpes-Maritimes, she added.
Some 175 police officers were mobilized for this large-scale operation, coordinated by the OCRVP (Central Office for the Repression of Violence against Persons).
26 women under the influence
During the arrests, 26 women, several of whom were under influence, were released, said the source close to the investigation.
This movement, called the Movement for Spiritual Integration towards the Absolute (Misa), has many yoga schools and other branches, this source detailed. “It is difficult to quantify the number of followers,” but “it’s several hundred people,” she added.
A judicial investigation was opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office in July 2023, for abuse of weakness, kidnapping by an organized gang, rape and trafficking in human beings.
At the end of July 2022, Miviludes (Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and the Fight against Sectarian Abuses) sent a report to the public prosecutor after being informed by the Human Rights League (LDH) of 12 reports from former members of the Misa movement, said a judicial source.
According to this source, the Misa movement, which became Atman during its expansion outside Romania, taught tantra yoga, with the aim of “conditioning victims to accept sexual relations via mental manipulation techniques aimed at removing any notion of consent” .
This sect encouraged female victims “to accept sexual relations with the leader of the group” and/or to “engage in pornographic practices paid for in France and abroad”.