Romanian court extends restrictions against online influencer Andrew Tate who is awaiting trial

Andrew Tate gestures upon exiting a police detention facility in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, March 12, 2024. A court in Romania's capital has granted a request by British authorities to extradite the divisive online influencer Andrew Tate but only after legal proceedings against him in Romania have been concluded. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

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

The Bucharest Tribunal extended by a maximum of 60 days the restrictions, which stipulate Tate may not leave the country. Tate, 37, had requested that he be able to travel within the European Union with the prior approval of a judge. He can appeal within 48 hours.

Andrew Tate, who has amassed 8.9 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 expressing misogynistic views and for hate speech.

Tate, a former professional kickboxer, was 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. They have denied the allegations.

After their arrest the Tate brothers, who are dual British-U.S. citizens, 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 can now travel freely around Romania.

The extension Wednesday came a day after the Tate brothers appeared at the Bucharest Court of Appeal in a separate case. British authorities issued arrest warrants over allegations of sexual aggression in a U.K. case dating back to 2012-2015, the brothers' spokesperson Mateea Petrescu said.

The court on Tuesday granted the British authorities its request to extradite Andrew and Tristan Tate, but only after legal proceedings against them have been concluded in Romania, which could take years.

Eugen Vidineac, the brothers' lawyer, said the court’s decision to postpone the extradition “provides an opportunity for the brothers to participate fully in their defense” and for the legal process “to proceed in a transparent manner.”

The legal case in Romania is still being discussed in the preliminary chamber stages, a process in which the defendants can challenge prosecutors’ evidence. No trial date has been set.