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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Andrew Tate detained by Romania in rape, human trafficking case

Controversial online influencer Andrew Tate has been detained in Romania as part of a human trafficking and rape investigation.

Romanian prosecutors asked a Bucharest court on Friday to extend the detention of Andrew Tate by 30 days, after the divisive internet personality was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group.

Tate, a former professional kickboxer, and his brother Tristan were detained on Thursday for an initial 24 hours alongside two Romanian suspects, prosecutors from the anti- organised crime unit said in a statement after raiding their properties in Bucharest.

“Anti-organised crime prosecutors have notified the rights and liberties judge with the Bucharest Court with a proposal to remand the four suspects for 30 days,” the prosecutors said on Friday.

The brothers declined to comment on Thursday but their lawyer confirmed they had been detained.

Prosecutors said the Tate brothers had been under criminal investigation since April.

“The four suspects … appear to have created an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialised websites for a cost,” prosecutors said in a statement late on Thursday.

“They would have gained important sums of money.”

Prosecutors said they had found six women who had been sexually exploited by the suspects.

Tate, who was born in the United States, holds U.S. and British nationality. Britain’s Foreign Office said on Friday it had not been approached for consular assistance over the case.

Tate gained notoriety for misogynistic comments and hate speech. He has said women are partially responsible for being raped and that they belong to men.

A number of social media platforms banned Tate, including Twitter, but his account there became active again in November, after the platform was taken over by Elon Musk. In one of his tweets following his return to the platform, Tate said he was flying to California to tell Musk he was “a legend”.

Tate appeared to have sent a tweet on Friday that suggested he had retained access to his phone and to social media while held in custody.

“Anybody who has access to his account can post,” said a representative of Romania’s anti-organised crime unit when asked how it was possible that Tate was tweeting while in custody.

Earlier this week, Tate was told to “get a life” by climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter after he told her he owned 33 cars with “enormous emissions”.

Read More: Controversial social media influencer Andrew Tate accepts Islam

Tate hit back at Thunberg on Wednesday in a video during which he asked somebody out of shot to bring him pizza and to make sure the boxes were “not recycled”.

Following online speculation that the brand of pizza featured in the video helped police confirm Tate’s presence in Romania, Thunberg quipped on Twitter that “this is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes”.

However, the anti organised-crime unit representative said that it was not the case that Tate’s arrest had been made as a result of the pizza boxes.

Tate, a former contestant on the UK reality show Big Brother, operates the ‘Hustler’s University’, which claims to have over 160,000 users who pay a subscription to learn about topics such as cryptocurrencies, investing and business.

Reuters Story with additional input from Global Village Space News Desk.