Andrew Tate to remain in jail after Romanian court rejects release appeal

Andrew Tate to remain in jail after Romanian court rejects release appeal

Andrew Tate has failed in a court appeal against a 30-day extension of his detention.

The former professional kickboxer and controversial online personality, who has nearly five million followers on Twitter, is detained on suspicion of organised crime and human trafficking.

The British-US citizen arrived at Bucharest Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning handcuffed to his brother Tristan, who is held in the same case along with two Romanian women.

All four, who were initially detained in Bucharest in late December, were looking to overturn a judge’s decision to extend their detention by 30 days for a second time.

Their latest appeal was rejected by a judge on Wednesday. It is the second time they have made legal bids to be released.

Tate, 36, his younger brother and the two women are under investigation for allegedly “forming an organised criminal group, human trafficking and rape”. They are accused of coercing women into “forced labour... and pornographic acts” for “substantial financial benefits”.

A document seen by The Associated Press explaining the January 20 decision to extend their custody, said the judge took into account the “particular dangerousness of the defendants” and their capacity to identify victims “with an increased vulnerability, in search of better life opportunities”.

If the court rejects their appeal on Wednesday all four will remain in custody until February 27 as prosecutors continue investigating the case.

Andrew Tate appears handcuffed to his brother, Tristan Tate (AP)
Andrew Tate appears handcuffed to his brother, Tristan Tate (AP)

Andrew Tate, who has reportedly lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has claimed there is “zero evidence” against him in the case and alleged it is instead a political attack to silence him.

“My case is not criminal, it’s political. It’s not about justice or fairness. It’s about attacking my influence on the world,” read a post that appeared on his Twitter account on Sunday.

An online petition launched in January to free the brothers has attracted nearly 100,000 signatures.

After the Tates and the two women were arrested, Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, said in a statement that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by the members of the alleged crime group.

The agency said victims were lured with pretenses of love, and later intimidated, surveilled and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for substantial financial gains.

Earlier in January, Romanian authorities descended on a compound near Bucharest where they towed away a fleet of luxury cars that included a blue Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Porsche. They reported seizing assets worth an estimated $3.9 million.

Prosecutors have said that if they can prove the owners gained money through illicit activities such as human trafficking, the assets would be used to cover the expenses of the investigation and to compensate victims.

Tate also unsuccessfully appealed the asset seizure.