Court extends divisive Internet personality Andrew Tate’s detention by a month

Andrew Tate, who has said women are partly to blame when they are raped, is being held on charges of human trafficking. PHOTO: REUTERS

BUCHAREST – A Bucharest court on Friday extended the detention of the controversial influencer Andrew Tate, who is being investigated for alleged human trafficking and rape, and his brother Tristan by a month.

“At the request of the prosecution, the court has accepted the extension of the detention of the two Tate brothers until Feb 27,” Ms Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania’s anti-organised crime and terrorism directorate, said.

Tate, a British-American former kickboxer, along with his younger brother and two Romanian women are under investigation for allegedly “forming an organised criminal group, human trafficking and rape”.

They allegedly coerced women into “forced labour… and pornographic acts” for “substantial financial benefits”.

All four were arrested at the end of December and ordered held for 30 days during the investigations.

Tate, 36, and his brother Tristan, 34, deny the accusations.

As part of the probe, Romanian police raided several properties connected to the Tate brothers and seized many of their assets, including a collection of 15 luxury cars, 14 watches and “sums of money” in different currencies amounting to about 18 million lei (S$5.1 million) in total.

Prosecutors have already searched Tate’s villa in April.

According to prosecutors, a human trafficking network set up by the suspects had been operating since 2019 and recruited “several victims, including minors… for the purpose of sexual exploitation”.

The women were tricked by the Tate brothers, who feigned affection, before being forced into prostitution and the production of pornographic films.

Sixteen telephones and various computer equipment “intended for video chat activities” were also found in the places searched on Thursday.

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 before being banned for misogynistic remarks and hate speech.

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Tate has said women are partially responsible for being raped, and that they belong to men.

He was allowed back on Twitter after the South African billionaire Elon Musk bought the company, and his handle “Cobratate” currently has 4.5 million followers.

Before his arrest, Tate was embroiled in a war of words with climate activist Greta Thunberg after he shared a picture of himself standing next to a Bugatti on Twitter.

Tate bragged that he owned 33 cars and said “this is just the start”.

“Please provide your e-mail address, so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions,” he said.

Ms Thunberg replied tartly, “Yes, please do enlighten me. email me at” AFP

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