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Influencer Andrew Tate indicted for human trafficking in Romania

This article is more than 12 months old

BUCHAREST Online influencer Andrew Tate, his brother and two women were indicted in Romania on human trafficking and rape charges, prosecutors said on Tuesday (June 20), six months after they were detained.

Police arrested Tate, 36, and his brother Tristan, 34, and the two Romanian women late last year. Under preventive detention at first, they were placed under house arrest at the end of March.

The anti-organised crime prosecution’s unit (DIICOT) “ordered the indictment” of the four defendants for offences including “setting up an organised criminal group...trafficking in persons...rape”, they said.

The brothers deny all the accusations. If found guilty, they would face years in prison.

“While this news is undoubtedly predictable, we embrace the opportunity it presents to demonstrate their innocence and vindicate their reputation,” Tate’s media team said in a statement.

It added the indictment “allows us to present a comprehensive body of evidence, diligently collected and prepared over time, which will undoubtedly substantiate the brothers’ claims of innocence”.

Police arrested Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan (above), and two Romanian women late last year.PHOTO: AFP

Prosecutors have applied for the defendants to stay under house arrest – which is now subject to a court’s ruling.

“It was held that, in early 2021, the four defendants formed an organised criminal group with a view to committing the crime of trafficking in persons on the territory of Romania, but also in other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom,” DIICOT said in a statement.

DIICOT said the organised criminal group sexually exploited seven victims “through acts of physical violence and psychological coercion”.

“They were sexually exploited by members of the group by forcing them to engage in pornographic acts with a view to producing and disseminating such material via social media platforms,” it added.

The seven victims, who were allegedly brought to and kept in the outskirts of Bucharest, were recruited through the “loverboy method” with the group misleading them with fake feelings of love and plans for lasting partnerships.

In addition to the charges of human trafficking and rape, the four are also indicted for “illegal access to a computer system, altering the integrity of computer data, instigation to assault or other violence and assault or other violence”, said DIICOT.

As part of the probe, Romanian police raided several properties connected to the Tate brothers and seized assets, including a collection of luxury cars.

A dual citizen of the United States and Britain, former kickboxer Andrew Tate moved to Romania years ago, after first starting a webcam business in the United Kingdom.

In 2016, Tate appeared on the “Big Brother” reality television show in Britain but was removed after a video emerged showing him attacking a woman.

He then turned to social media platforms to promote his divisive views. He currently has about seven million followers on Twitter.

Giving tips on how to be successful, along with misogynist and sometimes violent maxims, his videos have made him one of the world’s best-known influencers. - AFP

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