British YouTube star ‘Bald and Bankrupt’ arrested in Kazakhstan

British travel vlogger Benjamin Rich, better known as “Bald and Bankrupt”, has been arrested for “unlawful acts” at a Russian-controlled spaceport in Kazakhstan, officials say. The nature of the charges against him were not immediately clear.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said Rich, 47, and a Belarusian woman, Alina Zelupa, 31, were arrested near Site 112 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome early Saturday evening. They were both taken to a local police station.

It was not immediately clear if they had been arrested for trespassing or something else. Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said in a statement on Telegram that Rich and Zelupa were being held for “illegal acts” and that the investigation is still ongoing.

Rich, using the name Bald and Bankrupt, is a well-known travel vlogger with over 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube. The woman he was with, Alina Zelupa, had previously appeared in some of his videos, many of which were filmed in countries of the former Soviet Union.

In 2019, Rich was arrested and forced to apologize after filming a video on a train in the Russian Republic of Chechnya, which is a predominantly Muslim region. In a snippet of the video, which was later deleted, he joked privately that he wanted to share his cabin with a “Chechen chick”.

Rich’s most recent video was filmed in Syria and uploaded to YouTube on April 24. His previous video – in Ukraine – has over 6.3 million views so far. His videos have garnered nearly 500 million views since he joined YouTube in 2018.

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