A Romanian court on Wednesday ratified a second 30-day detention for the controversial influencer and former professional kickboxer Andrew Tatewho is being held on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking, an official reported.
Tate failed to appeal a judge’s Jan. 20 decision to extend his arrest by 30 days for a second time, he said. Ramona Bollaspokesperson for the Romanian anti-organized crime agency DIICOT.
Tate, 36, a British and US citizen with nearly 5 million Twitter followers, arrived at the Bucharest Court of Appeal handcuffed to his brother Tristan, who is being held in the same case along with two Romanian women. None of the four have been formally charged.
The court rejected their appeals and they will be detained until February 27 while prosecutors continue to investigate the case.
A document seen by Associated Press that explains the January 20 decision indicates that the judge considered the “particular seriousness of the defendants” and their ability to identify victims “with greater vulnerability, in search of better life opportunities.”
Tina Glandian, an American lawyer who has represented celebrities including the singer Chris Brown and the former boxer Mike Tysonjoined the Tates’ legal team on Wednesday to work with him.
“The defense team made extensive legal arguments pointing to the lack of evidence against the Tate brothers,” he told a news conference before the ruling. “It’s no secret that the Tate brothers are controversial public figuresbut this is not about his public persona… this is about the violation of international human rights and due process of law.”
“So far the system has failed,” he said. “The Tate brothers, both US citizens, have been in jail for more than 30 days with no bail and no charges filed against them.”
As the Tates were leaving court after the hearing on Wednesday morning, Andrew Tate said: “Ask them for evidence and they won’t give you any, because it doesn’t exist. They will soon discover the truth of this case.”
Tate, who has reportedly lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from several prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has claimed that there is “zero evidence” against him in the case, claiming instead that it is a “political” attack to silence him.
“My case is not criminal, it is political. It is not about justice or equity. This is about attacking my influence in the world,” she said in a post that appeared on his Twitter account on Sunday.
His Twitter following has increased by several hundred thousand since he was first arrested in December. An online petition launched in January to free the brothers has garnered nearly 100,000 signatures.
After the Tate brothers and the two women were arrested, the organized crime agency DIICOT said in a statement that it had identified six victims in the case of trafficking in persons who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by members of the alleged criminal group.
The agency said the victims were lured with pretenses of love and then intimidated, placed under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being forced to engage in pornographic acts for substantial financial gain.
Last month, Romanian authorities stormed a compound near Bucharest linked to the Tate brothers and seized a fleet of luxury cars that included a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Porsche. They reported the seizure of assets with an estimated value of $3.9 million.
Prosecutors have said that if they can prove the owners of the cars made money through illegal activities such as human smuggling, the assets would be used to cover the costs of the investigation and to compensate the victims. Tate also unsuccessfully appealed the asset seizure.
With information from AP
Who is Andrew Tate, the controversial influencer who claims to be a billionaire and was imprisoned after being humiliated by Greta Thunberg
The controversial influencer Andrew Tate, accused of sexual exploitation, defended his innocence: “There is no proof”