Tantric yoga guru arrested over accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation in France

A tantric yoga guru has been arrested in France on suspicion of indoctrinating female followers for sexual exploitation.

The leader of the Atman Yoga Federation, a multinational organisation with a presence in the UK, was detained after a police raid in Paris on Tuesday morning, according to the Associated Press, quoting an anonymous French judicial source.

Only identified in French law as Gregorian B, the Romanian national is reportedly known internationally as a yoga tutor and author.

According to AP's source, an investigation was launched after accusations of psychological manipulation and sexual exploitation within his organisation, which is also known as the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA).

The 71-year-old is being charged with human trafficking, organised kidnapping, rape, and organised abuse of weakness by members of a sect, officials said.

There is also an Interpol notice against him from Finland, where he is wanted for alleged human trafficking.

Some 175 police officers were involved in the raids in France, which resulted in 40 other arrests in Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, and the Alpes-Maritimes regions.

The operation was focused on locations used by the organisation, where women said they were indoctrinated and coerced into sexual practices.

French officials said the locations were known as "ashrams", and served as accommodation for women selected by the defendant for initiation into tantric yoga.

Gregorian B founded MISA in 1990, and it eventually became known as the Atman Yoga Federation, which is headquartered in Cambridgeshire.

The French investigators say they found evidence students were coerced into sexual activities which included being in explicit videos which were used for profit, the source told the Associated Press, which were said to have been carried out under the pretence of tantric yoga teachings.

Sky News has contacted the Atman Federation for a response to the accusations but has yet to receive a response.

On Atman's UK website, it says that the accused guru "and the yoga school he founded, MISA (the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute), have been and still are target of great defamations and severe abuses of human rights".

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Tantric practices relate to sex and power, and are rooted in Hindu and Buddhist teachings.

Gregorian B was on a list of Europe's most wanted in 2016.