Andrew Tate, a public figure on social media notorious for sharing sexist beliefs online, showed up at a Romanian court, where he faces accusations of rape, human trafficking and establishing a criminal organization to take advantage of women.
Andrew and his brother, Tristan Tate, who is also implicated in the charges, were seen at the court located in the capital city of Bucharest on a Wednesday, escorted by a team of six security personnel.
They put forward their argument against the continuation of their house arrest. Two women from Romania have also been implicated by the prosecutors in this case.
The anti-organised crime agency of Romania alleged that these four accused individuals created a criminal group in 2021 “in order to commit the crime of human trafficking” in Romania, and extended to the US and the UK.
According to the agency, the group tricked seven women and transported them to Romania, where they were subjected to sexual exploitation and physical abuse.
A defendant is allegedly charged with the act of raping a woman on two occasions in March 2022, as stated in the report.
Tate, at the age of 36, has been a resident of Romania since 2017. The ex-professional kickboxer has persistently asserted that the Romanian prosecutors lack evidence and suggested that the case is a politically motivated plot to silence him.
When reporters questioned him about “how much money have you made from trafficking women?” outside the courtroom, Tate retorted: “Zero.”
“They categorically don’t want to remain under house arrest,” their legal representative, Ioan Gliga, communicated to reporters, mentioning that the action was “unjustified”.
The court’s decision on the subject is anticipated on June 23. The commencement date for their trial remains unclear.
Mateea Petrescu, a spokesperson for Tate, communicated on a Tuesday that the brothers are ready to “demonstrate their innocence and vindicate their reputation”.
“Tate’s legal team is prepared to cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities, presenting all necessary evidence to exonerate the brothers and expose any misinterpretations or false accusations,” Petrescu added.
The Tate siblings, holding dual citizenship of Britain and the US, along with the two Romanian suspects were apprehended in Bucharest in late December. On March 31, the brothers successfully appealed to shift from police custody to house arrest.
Tate has established a significant presence on social media with over 6 million followers on Twitter, primarily consisting of young males and students.
He has faced previous bans from platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook for hate speech and his misogynistic remarks, such as blaming women for being victims of sexual assault.
He resumed activity on Twitter the previous year when the platform’s new CEO, Elon Musk, restored Tate’s account.
Hope Not Hate, a UK group that campaigns against extreme right-wing ideologies, has issued a cautionary statement.
They highlight that Andrew Tate’s substantial following among young males and teenage boys persists, drawn to his “misogynist, homophobic, and racist content,” as well as the affluent lifestyle he showcases online.
Romania’s anti-organised crime agency, Diicot, reported that the seven alleged victims were lured in with deceptive love declarations and brought to Romania’s Ilfov county, where they were compelled to engage in pornography.
The women were supposedly controlled through “intimidation, constant surveillance” and debt claims, as per the prosecutors.
The prosecutors have demanded the seizure of the Tate brothers’ possessions, which includes 15 luxury vehicles, high-end watches and approximately $3m in digital currency, as per the agency’s report.
Several women in Britain are also advancing civil lawsuits to seek compensation from Tate, claiming to be victims of sexual violence.
In a recent discussion with the BBC, Tate refuted promoting a culture of misogyny and allegations of manipulating women for monetary benefit.