Andrew Tate to remain under house arrest in Romania as human trafficking case drags on
Jun 23, 2023, 5:15 AM
(AP Photo/Alexandru Dobre)
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court on Friday extended by 30 days the house arrest of Andrew Tate, the divisive social media personality and former professional kickboxer who was charged this week with rape, human trafficking, and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
The Bucharest Tribunal’s decision comes days after prosecutors from Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, formally indicted the 36-year-old social media star after filing their criminal investigation to a Bucharest court.
Tate, who has amassed nearly 7 million Twitter followers and is known for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech online, was initially arrested near Romania’s capital, Bucharest, in late December, along with his brother, Tristan. Two Romanian women are also charged in the case.
All four defendants will remain under house arrest for 30 days, the court ruled, but the decision can be appealed within 48 hours.
DIICOT requested this week that judges extend the house arrest measure as they filed their investigation. Under Romanian law, judges have 60 days to decide whether the case is sent to trial, but nonetheless often takes longer.
The agency alleges that the four defendants formed a criminal group in 2021 “in order to commit the crime of human trafficking” in Romania, as well as in the United States and Britain. All four have denied the allegations against them.
There are seven female victims in the case, DIICOT said, who were lured with false pretenses of love and transported to Romania, where the gang sexually exploited and subjected them to physical violence. One defendant is accused of raping a woman twice in March 2022, according to the agency. The women were allegedly controlled by “intimidation, constant surveillance” and claims they were in debt, prosecutors said.
The Tate brothers, who are dual British-U.S. citizens, won an appeal on March 31 to be moved to house arrest after spending three months in police detention.
Andrew Tate, who is known to peddle conspiracy theories online to his mostly young male followers, has repeatedly claimed that prosecutors have no evidence against him and that there is a political conspiracy designed to silence his views.
In a video posted on Thursday to his Twitter account, he labeled the charges against him as a “level 10 matrix attack” and said, “They’re trying to destroy me without evidence.”
Tate was previously banned from several prominent social media platforms for expressing hate speech and misogynistic comments, including that women should bear responsibility for getting sexually assaulted.
Several women in Britain also are pursuing civil claims to obtain damages from Tate, alleging they were victims of sexual violence.
During their investigations, prosecutors have ordered the confiscation of the Tate brothers’ assets, including 15 luxury cars, luxury watches and about $3 million in cryptocurrency.