BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Social media sensation Andrew Tate appeared in court in the Romanian capital Tuesday to appeal a judge’s decision to extend his detention on gang, human trafficking and rape charges for up to 30 days.
Tate, 36, a British-American citizen with 4.4 million Twitter followers. followers, was initially detained on December 29. For 24 hours, along with his brother Tristan, who was charged in the same case. Two Romanian women were also detained.
All four immediately contested the extension of detention that a judge granted prosecutors on December 30. A document explaining the judge’s reasoning said that “the possibility that they will evade investigations cannot be ignored” and that they could “leave Romania and settle in countries that do. prevent extradition”.
Tate arrived at the Bucharest Court of Appeal in handcuffs. Romanian defense attorney Eugen Vidineac, representing Tate, told reporters after the morning hearing that “all four defendants made statements” and that “the requests of the lawyers were fully heard.”
“The court has to decide. We look forward to a positive decision for our customers,” Vidineac said.
Vidineac told The Associated Press.
Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT said after raids in late December that it had identified six victims in the case who had been subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental abuse” by the group and sexually abused by members of the group.
The agency said victims were lured with pretense of love and then subjected to intimidation, surveillance and other control tactics to engage in pornographic acts with the goal of obtaining significant financial gain.
Prosecutors investigating the case have so far seized a total of 15 luxury cars – at least seven of which belong to the Tate brothers – and more than 10 properties or land owned by their registered companies, DIICOT spokeswoman Ramona Bolla said.
Bolla said that if prosecutors can prove they made money from human trafficking, the assets “will be taken by the state and cover the costs of the investigation and damages to the victims.”
If the court decides to extend the arrest warrant on Tuesday, prosecutors could ask for a maximum of 180 days of detention. If the court overturns the extension, the defendants could face house arrest or similar conditions, such as a ban on leaving Romania.
Following Tate’s arrest, a series of ambiguous posts appeared on his Twitter account, each receiving significant media attention.
One, published on Sunday and accompanied by a local report that said he or his brother had required medical attention since the arrest, said: “Matrix attacked me. But they get it wrong, you can’t kill an idea. Hard to kill.”
Another post on Saturday said: “Going to prison guilty of a crime is the story of a criminal’s life… Going to prison completely innocent is the story of a hero.
Tate, who has reportedly been living in Romania since 2017, has previously been banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.