Andrew Tate is in custody, charged in a human trafficking investigation


Andrew Tate — the former kickboxing champion, internet personality and a self-described misogynist — was detained in Romania together with his brother Tristan and charged with human trafficking and the creation of an organized crime group.

A Romanian organized crime unit is seeking permission from a judge to detain Tate, his brother and two Romanian suspects for up to 30 days. Thursday’s warrant against the four suspects is valid until 24 hours. One was also charged with rape, but the spokesman declined to name that person, citing local laws.

The Tate brothers were expected to be physically present at the court in Bucharest. Prosecutors want to send the suspects to trial where, if convicted, they could face years in prison.

“No matter what the judge decides [on the longer detention]we will take further action to investigate this crime,” said Ramona Bola, a spokeswoman for the Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism, or DIICOT, in a telephone interview.

Romanian prosecutors it said in a statement on Thursday that they have identified six people they claim were recruited and then sexually abused in Ilfov County, which includes the capital Bucharest.

Authorities say the victims were forced to participate in pornography for distribution on social media and that one of the suspects raped a victim twice in March. The statement, which did not name the Tate brothers or specify which suspect was charged with rape, said the victims were subjected to “acts of physical abuse and mental coercion.”

Andrew Tate, who was born in the United States and is also a British citizen, previously said he was living in Romania. Bola confirmed that the Tate family was in the country legally and said the investigation began in April after the US Embassy called Romanian authorities with information that an American citizen was being forcibly held in a house in Ilfov. The embassy in Bucharest did not immediately respond to questions from The Washington Post early Friday.

Police said the four suspects organized a group in early 2021, conspiring to commit human trafficking not only in Romania but also in the United States and Britain. A conviction in Romania on charges of human trafficking can result in a sentence of between three and 10 years. For rape, the penalties can vary between five and ten years.

Earlier, police reported searching two properties in April in Ilfov County, in which they said they had seized property related to the case. The Tate family’s arrest came after police executed five search warrants at the home, police said. The alleged American victim is no longer in the country, Bola said. The other five alleged victims are Romanians and Moldovans.

A spokesman for the brothers declined to comment on whether they had been detained. “Andrew and Tristan Tate have great respect for the Romanian authorities and will always cooperate and assist in any way they can,” the spokesman said. Tate’s talent agent said in an email that the human trafficking allegations were an “orchestrated hoax unleashed by the matrix.” An attorney for the Tate family could not immediately be identified.

A tweet on Andrew Tate’s Twitter account early Friday said: “The Matrix has sent its agents.”

Photos show Tate being escorted in handcuffs by masked law enforcement officers near DIICOT headquarters on Thursday.

In a since-deleted YouTube video that was reposted on Reddit, Tate said “40 percent” of the reason he moved to the country was because he thought sexual assault cases were less likely to be investigated there.

Tate was banned from several social media — including TikTok, Facebook and Instagram — after posting misogynistic remarks. Tate’s Twitter account has been reinstated after the takeover of the company by Elon Musk. Tate tweeted that people who were raped “bear some responsibility” and argued that women are the property of their husbands. His fans call him “the king of toxic masculinity.”

In 2016, he was kicked off the British version of the reality TV show Big Brother after a video emerged that appeared to show him hitting a woman with a belt. (Tate is said to have said what happened was consensual.)

His detention comes shortly after he tweeted against climate activist Greta Thunberg, bragging about his 33 cars and “huge emissions”. Thunberg told him to get life.

Speculation swirled overnight Thursday that Romanian authorities had been able to locate Tate after he posted a video in response to Thunberg containing a pizza box from a local place that revealed his location. Bola denied that played a role in his detention or timing. “It was hard work to gather all the evidence” in the months-long investigation, Bola said.

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