Andrew Tate appears in Romanian court as lawyers argue he should be released
Andrew Tate arrives at a Romanian court with his brother in handcuffs as he tries to appeal a 30-day extension of his house arrest for a second time.
The former professional kickboxer and controversial online figure who has nearly half a million followers on Twitter has been detained on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking.
The British-American man arrived at the Bucharest Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning in handcuffs to his brother Tristan, who is being held in the same case with two Romanian women.
The four, who were initially detained in Bucharest in late December, will seek to overturn a judge’s decision to extend their detention by 30 days for a second time at the request of prosecutors.
They had previously lost an appeal against an earlier extension.
Tate, 36, his younger brother and two women are being investigated for allegedly “forming an organized criminal group, human trafficking and rape”. They are accused of subjecting the women to “forced labor … and indecent acts” for “substantial financial gain”.
A document seen by The Associated Press explaining the January 20 ruling said the judge noted the “particular dangerousness of the defendants” and their ability to identify victims as “increased vulnerability, in search of opportunities for a better life.” taken into account.
If the court rejects their appeal on Wednesday, the four will remain in custody until February 27 as prosecutors continue their investigation.
Andrew Tate, who has reportedly been living in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various major social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has claimed that there is “zero evidence” against him in the case and alleged that it is a political attack to silence him.
“My case is not criminal, it is political. It is not about justice or fairness. It is about attacking my influence on the world,” read a post on his Twitter account on Sunday.
An online petition launched in January to free the brothers has garnered nearly 100,000 signatures.
Following the arrest of Tates and the two women, Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, said in a statement that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who had been subjected to “physical violence and psychological coercion” and sexual assault. Was doing. Exploited by alleged crime group members.
The agency said the victims were lured by the pretense of love, and subsequently coerced into engaging in pornographic activities for substantial financial gain and were subsequently subjected to intimidation, surveilled and other control tactics.
Earlier in January, Romanian officials descended on a compound near Bucharest, where they lifted a fleet of luxury cars, including a blue Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Porsche. He reported seizing assets worth an estimated $3.9 million.
Prosecutors have said that if they can prove the owners earned the money through illegal activities such as human trafficking, the assets will be used to cover the costs of the investigation and to compensate victims.
Tate also unsuccessfully appealed for asset forfeiture.