Controversial influencer indicted on human trafficking, rape charges in Romania

Bucharest, June 20 (IANS) Controversial online influencer Andrew Tate, his brother Tristan and two Romanian citizens have been indicted in Romania on charges of rape, human trafficking and forming an organised crime group to sexually exploit women, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.

The Tate brothers were first arrested at their Bucharest home in December. In March, they were moved from custody to house arrest following a ruling by a Romanian judge, the BBC reported.

The indictment deposited with the Bucharest court says that the four defendants formed an organised criminal group in 2021 to commit human trafficking in Romania, but also in other countries including the US and the UK.

It names seven alleged victims who it says were recruited by the Tate brothers through false promises of love and marriage, the British news broadcaster reported.

The alleged victims were later taken to buildings in Ilfov county in Romania where they were intimidated, placed under constant surveillance and control and forced into debt, according to a statement from Romanian prosecutors.

The defendants allegedly then forced the women to take part in pornography which was later shared on social media.

One defendant is accused of raping a woman twice in March 2022, the statement adds.

The accused also had assets seized, including properties, cars and more than $300m (£235m) in cryptocurrency.

The trial will not start immediately and is expected to take several years.

A Romanian judge now has 60 days to inspect the case files before it can be sent to trial.

The media team for the Tate brothers said: “While this news is undoubtedly predictable, we embrace the opportunity it presents to demonstrate their innocence and vindicate their reputation.”

It added that 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”.

There are also separate charges still under investigation which could lead to a separate indictment, including money laundering and trafficking of minors.

In 2016, Andrew Tate, a British-American former kickboxer, was removed from British TV show Big Brother over a video which appeared to show him attacking a woman.

Tate also became infamous for his viral online rants preaching male dominance, female submission and the pursuit of wealth.

He went on to gain notoriety online, with Twitter banning him for saying women should “bear some responsibility” for being sexually assaulted. He has since been reinstated.



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