Romanian court extends judicial measures against online influencer awaiting human trafficking trial

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A court in Romania’s capital on Friday extended geographical restrictions against an online influencer who is awaiting trial on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.

The Bucharest Tribunal extended by 60 days the restrictions stipulating Andrew Tate, 37, may not leave the country. Tate had requested that he be able to leave Romania provided he stayed within Europe’s ID-check-free Schengen zone, which Romania partially joined in March. Eugen Vidineac, one of Tate's lawyers, said they will appeal the decision.

Tate, a former professional kickboxer and dual British-U.S. citizen, was initially arrested in December 2022 near Bucharest along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women. Romanian prosecutors formally indicted all four in June last year and all four have denied the allegations.

On April 26, the Bucharest Tribunal ruled that the prosecutors’ case file against Tate met the legal criteria and that a trial could start but did not set a date for it to begin. That ruling came after the legal case had been discussed for months in the preliminary chamber stages, a process in which the defendants can challenge prosecutors’ evidence and case file.

After that decision last month, Vidineac argued it “lacks legal basis and reasoning” and said they ”filed a strong appeal as we believe the ruling to be unlawful.”

Andrew Tate, who has amassed 9.1 million followers on the social media platform X, has repeatedly claimed that prosecutors have no evidence against him and that there is a political conspiracy to silence him. He was previously banned from various prominent social media platforms for allegedly expressing misogynistic views and for hate speech.

Speaking to reporters about his legal case outside the court on Wednesday this week, Andrew Tate said: “It’s up to the judge, the judge will decide what the judge will decide, I remain rich and famous — nothing matters.”

“If I have to sleep in jail, I’ll sleep in jail,” he added. “Everybody knows if I was not famous, there would be no way on earth that all of you would be here.”

After the Tate brothers’ arrest, they were held for three months in police detention before being moved to house arrest. They were later restricted to Bucharest Municipality and nearby Ilfov County, but may now travel freely around Romania.

In a separate case, Andrew Tate was served at his home in Romania with a civil lawsuit lodged by four British women in the U.K. after a claim was issued by the High Court in London, according to a statement released Wednesday by McCue Jury & Partners, the law firm representing the four women.

The four allege Tate sexually and physically assaulted them and had reported him to British authorities in 2014 and 2015. After a four-year investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service decided in 2019 not to prosecute him. The alleged victims then turned to crowdfunding to pursue a civil case against him.

“We are very pleased that the court has issued our claim and the case is progressing,” Matthew Jury, a managing partner at the law firm, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are determined to bring Andrew Tate to justice, and this is a major step towards that goal.”

In a separate third case, the Tate brothers also appeared in March at the Bucharest Court of Appeal after British authorities issued arrest warrants over allegations of sexual aggression in a U.K. case dating back to 2012-2015.

The appeals court granted the British request to extradite the Tates to the U.K., but only after legal proceedings in Romania have concluded.

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McGrath reported from Tulcea, Romania.