Gregorian Bivolaru, a "spiritual leader" of the Atman yoga federation, has been previously convicted in Romania for the rape of a minor and is sought by Interpol for trafficking women.
Forty-one individuals have been arrested in France, suspected of being linked to an international sectarian network accused of numerous excesses under the guise of practicing tantric yoga, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP), confirming information from Libération and RFI on Tuesday, November 28th. Among those apprehended is Gregorian Bivolaru, the Romanian guru and founder of this international yoga movement.
The man at the helm of the Atman federation, previously known as the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA), is suspected of indoctrinating female followers of his organization to exploit them sexually. Gregorian Bivolaru was apprehended during a large-scale operation against his network: about 175 police officers were mobilized, coordinated by the Central Office for the Suppression of Violence against Persons, in Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, and Alpes-Maritimes. During the arrests, twenty-six women, several of whom were under his influence, were freed, a source close to the investigation told AFP.
This movement has numerous yoga schools and other branches with "difficult-to-quantify numbers of followers," but "it amounts to several hundred people," explained a source close to the case to AFP. A judicial investigation had been opened by the Paris prosecutor's office in July 2023 for abuse of weakness, rape, human trafficking, and "organized gang confinement."
In late July 2022, the Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviations had alerted the public prosecutor after being informed by the Human Rights League of twelve reports from former members of the MISA movement, a judicial source informed AFP.
Libération recalls that Mr. Bivolaru had been convicted in Romania for the rape of a minor and is wanted by Interpol for trafficking women. The Atman federation is present in about thirty countries, mostly in Europe. In France, it operates through the Integral Yoga association, established in Paris, Nice, and Poitiers. Foto-Massimiliano Mariani, Wikimedia commons.