A British factory boss filmed calling his Romanian workers "peasants" and "animals" is being investigated by police in connection with a Nazi image uploaded to his Facebook profile. Eleftherios Vanellis, a dual British Cypriot citizen, gained notoriety after a video of him berating the workforce at a textile factory he manages was leaked to Romanian media.

The website Observatorul Prahovean, which published the video, also alerted police to a photo on Vanellis's Facebook account of him with a Hitler moustache and swastika symbol superimposed.

The picture was posted on the evening of 6 August a couple of days before it and the video were published by Observatorul. A local police spokesman in Romania told IBTimes UK the incident was being investigated but would not comment on the suggestion that a disgruntled employee had 'hacked' Vanellis's Facebook account.

It is illegal to disseminate Nazi symbols and propaganda in Romania with a maximum punishment of three years in prison. The police spokesman said he believed Vanellis was a manager rather than the owner of the Unique Clothing Factory in Paulesti, Prahova County.

In the video, reportedly filmed on 16 July but only recently made public, Vanellis can be seen screaming at factory employees in an apparent dispute about their being paid on time. Speaking in English, via a translator, he explained to around 100 Romanian workers that their salaries were going to be late.

When some of them made noises of dissent, he shouted: "Shut up I'm not interested in nothing. You have a choice: at ten past four you can go home without your salaries or you can wait for it like a civilised person. That's it."

The clip, which lasts a few minutes, sees him launch a string of angry attacks on the staff. He says: "I'm telling you something I am fed up with the lot of you.

"The way you behaved yesterday, you're f***ing animals! You're disgusting. F**k off! F**k off! If you don't like it you can f*** off!' You f***ing peasants."

Eleftherios Vanellis
Police wouldn't comment on whether an employee had made and posted this pictureFacebook / Eleftherios Vanellis

He singles out one woman in particular: "The was you behaved was like an animal. F**k off. Get out. Scumbags." It is unclear what she had done.

He then continued: "I know you're not all that bad. I know the ones with the big mouth and soon I'm going to get rid of you. You think because I'm one day late you can behave like this. You're disgusting.

"They come from other factories and say 'two months we've not been paid – they're still waiting for their money... and you complain because it's one day late? You're all f***ing idiots. None of you are grateful. Shut up."

IBTimes UK was unable to contact Vanellis. Police said he had gone on holiday.