BUCHAREST, Jan 10 (Reuters) – A Romanian court on Tuesday evening ordered controversial internet personality Andrew Tate, his brother and two other suspects to remain in police custody for 30 days pending a criminal investigation into suspected human trafficking.
Tate, her brother Tristan and two Romanian suspects were arrested by Romanian organized crime prosecutors on December 29 for forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit six women.
They denied wrongdoing through their lawyers and challenged the 30-day arrest warrant. On Tuesday, the Bucharest Court of Appeal said it dismissed the challenge as “unfounded”.
“The prosecutors’ arguments were that they had evidence. Naturally our arguments were that there was no evidence,” Ioan Gliga, one of the defense lawyers, told reporters.
The first court to issue the arrest warrant raised the risk that the suspects could escape justice by leaving Romania for countries with which Bucharest does not have an extradition treaty.
Prosecutors said the Tate brothers recruited their victims by seducing them and falsely claiming they wanted a relationship.
The victims were then taken to properties on the outskirts of the capital Bucharest and, through physical abuse and mental intimidation, were sexually exploited by being forced to produce pornographic content for social media sites which generated ‘significant financial gains, prosecutors say.
They also said one of the brothers raped one of the victims in March last year, when the investigation began.
Prosecutors seized 15 luxury vehicles and more than 10 properties and homes belonging to the suspects in Bucharest and Prahova and Brasov counties, Ramona Bolla, spokeswoman for Romania’s Organized Crime Unit, told Reuters. DIICOT. The seizure was intended to prevent the sale or concealment of the assets.
If prosecutors need more time to investigate, they can seek approval for further extensions of up to 180 days of detention under Romanian law.
Tate gained mainstream notoriety for his misogynistic remarks and hate speech which got him banned from all major social media platforms, although his Twitter account was reinstated in November after the social media giant was acquired by Elon Musk.
The former professional kickboxer, who holds US and UK citizenship, said women are partly responsible for rape and belong to men. He is a self-proclaimed misogynist.
In a podcast last year, he said he started making money by convincing several girlfriends to video chat and split the profits when he was living in London.
“How can I use these women to make money? Tate said, adding that his business started with two girlfriends and peaked with 75 women working for him earning $600,000 a month.
He also said he moved to Romania after being investigated in the UK on sexual assault charges, which were eventually dropped, as he enjoyed living in countries where corruption was open to all. .
Reporting by Luiza Ilie and Octav Ganea; edited by Nick Macfie and Mark Heinrich
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