Andrew Tate: controversial influencer appears in Romanian court on rape and human trafficking charges
Social media personality Andrew Tate has appeared in court a day after being charged with rape, human trafficking and forming a criminal gang to exploit women.
Tate and his brother Tristan, both dual British-American nationals, as well as two Romanian nationals, have been under house arrest for months during a police investigation, before prosecutors pressed charges on Tuesday (20 June). The Tate brothers both made a brief first appearance in a Bucharest court on Wednesday.
The pair arrived at the Municipal Court of Bucharest building flanked by security guards, CNN reported, who pushed media out of their way as they headed inside. When a reporter asked if he was a rapist, Andrew Tate replied: “Of course not, don’t ask me stupid questions.”
According to journalists at the scene, the controversial influencer and his brother smiled and waved at people outside the courthouse. The Independent reports Tate maintained his innocence to reporters, as another asked him “how much money have you made from trafficking women?”
“Zero," Tate responded. “We’re not the first affluent wealthy men who have been unfairly attacked.” Tate went on to thank his supporters across the world, and said he loved Romania - and planned to continue living there once he was "found innocent at the end of everything".
Sky News reports the court will reconvene on Friday, and a judge will make a decision on whether their house arrest will continue.
According to a translation of the statement by Romanian prosecutors released on Tuesday, there were seven alleged female victims, including some who were “misled” by “false claims of marriage and love”.
It said the defendants formed an organised crime group in early 2021 to commit human trafficking in Romania, the UK, the US and other countries. The alleged victims were later taken to buildings in Ilfov county in Romania where they were intimidated, placed under constant surveillance and control and forced into debt, the statement said.
It is said the defendants then forced them to take part in pornography which was later shared on social media. One defendant allegedly raped one of the victims twice in March 2022, according to the statement.
A number of campaign groups have claimed Tate’s views make him a danger to young men and boys who see his content online. Tate, who has lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various social media platforms.
The former kickboxer has previously denied all allegations of abuse and trafficking.
It is understood a trial will not begin immediately, and a judge will have up to 60 days to assess the file.