Romanian court: Influencer Andrew Tate to be held for 3rd month

8FILE - Former kickboxer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan (not seen) leave court with police cars after their trial in Bucharest, Romania on Feb. 1, 2023. (Photo by Alex Nicodim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A Romanian court on Monday upheld a third 30-day detention for the divisive social media influencer and former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate, who is held on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking, an official said.

Tate lost his appeal against a judge’s Feb. 21 decision to extend his arrest a third time for 30 days, according to Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT.

Tate, 36, a British-U.S. citizen known for misogynistic views who has 5.2 million Twitter followers, arrived at the Bucharest Court of Appeal handcuffed to his brother Tristan, who is held in the same case.

Bolla said prosecutors also won an appeal Monday against a court’s decision last week to place two women held in the case under house arrest, instead of in full detention. None of the four has yet been formally charged.

It is the third separate appeal the brothers have lost against decisions to extend their detention while investigations continue. All four will now remain in jail until at least Mar. 29, Bolla said.

A document explaining an earlier decision to keep them in jail said the judge took into account the "particular dangerousness of the defendants" and their capacity to identify victims "with an increased vulnerability, in search of better life opportunities."

Tate, who has lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has repeatedly claimed Romanian prosecutors have no evidence and alleged their case is a "political" conspiracy designed to silence him.

After the court ruled on Monday, a post appeared on Andrew Tate’s Twitter account, which read: "They weaponize lies to keep me in here. But you cannot hide the sun forever."

DIICOT said in a statement after the December arrests that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were allegedly subjected to "acts of physical violence and mental coercion" and sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.

The agency said victims were lured with pretenses of love and later intimidated, placed under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for the financial gain of the crime group.

In January, Romanian authorities descended on a compound near Bucharest linked with the Tate brothers and towed away a fleet of luxury cars that included a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Porsche. They reported seizing assets worth an estimated $3.9 million.

Prosecutors have said that if they can prove the cars’ owners gained money through illicit activities such as human trafficking, the assets would be used to cover the expenses of the investigation and to compensate victims. Tate also unsuccessfully appealed the asset seizure.

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Stephen McGrath reported from Sighisoara.