For several decades, the man has been accused of serious crimes linked to the alleged yoga sect he was the "spiritual leader" of, and which ran schools in several places in Europe.

Among other things, he has been accused of indoctrinating female members to be sexually exploited.

"There is no sex"

In 2005, he was convicted in his native Romania of child rape after having a sexual relationship with a yoga student, and he fled to Sweden where he was granted a residence permit.

He settled in Karlskrona, where a yoga school was also started. There, the teachers refuted that it would be some kind of "sex cult".

"Of course we talk about sexuality. It is a human force that we teach how to control. But our teaching is theoretical. What the participants do when they get home is up to them. But on our courses there is no sex, said one of the yoga teachers in Karlskrona to Sydöstran in 2005.

Despite the fact that the 71-year-old has left Sweden for several years, he is still registered at an address in central Karlskrona.

Crackdown in France

On Tuesday, the 71-year-old was arrested in a major raid in France. He is suspected of, among other things, human smuggling, organized kidnapping and rape, French media reports.

The other 40 arrested are suspected of being key figures in the sect accused of abuse, under the guise of practicing yoga. The sect runs several yoga schools and other businesses.

Tuesday's raids, which took place simultaneously in Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne and Alpes-Maritimes, involved a total of 175 police officers. The cult leader himself was arrested, according to the information in Val-de-Marne.

In the raids, 26 women were acquitted, several of whom were held against their will, according to sources to AFP.