Andrew Tate arrest: Former kickboxer detained in Romania in human trafficking case

Influencer has been banned from many social media platforms over misogynistic comments and hate speech

Andrew Tate is escorted by police officers in Bucharest, Romania, after his arrest. Reuters
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Andrew Tate, the divisive social media personality banned from many platforms for misogyny and hate speech, has been detained in Romania on suspicion of human trafficking.

Tate and his brother Tristan were held along with two Romanian suspects during raids by an organised crime squad.

It is feared that at least six women were sexually exploited by the alleged criminal ring.

They were coerced through “intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invoking alleged debts” into taking part in adult videos that could have made "significant amounts of money", police said.

“Victims were recruited by British citizens, by misrepresenting their intention to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship and the existence of genuine feelings of love,” a statement said.

“They were later transported and housed in buildings in Ilfov county where, by exercising acts of physical violence and mental coercion … they were sexually exploited by group members”.

The brothers declined to comment but a lawyer confirmed to Reuters that they were detained on Thursday.

On Friday, as climate activist Greta Thunberg delighted in Tate's troubles after they sparred on social media, a tweet from Tate's account said: "The Matrix sent their agents."

It was not clear who sent the tweet, which came as prosecutors sought to keep Tate in detention for 30 days.

Tate, who lives in Romania, was ordered to be held for 24 hours. The brothers have been under criminal investigation since April.

The possible offences being investigated are human trafficking, rape and forming an organised criminal group, allegedly in early 2021.

Some local media reports claimed a former policewoman was one of the Romanian nationals detained.

Footage released by authorities showed a squad of armed police entering a home and apparently finding weapons and banknotes. Five search warrants were carried out in Romania.

In separate images, Tate was seen being taken into a police van and escorted to the organised crime unit's headquarters.

His detention in Bucharest came a day after he sparred with Ms Thunberg in a vulgar online feud.

However, there was limited evidence to support the viral theory that police tracked him down with a picture of a pizza box he sent to Ms Thunberg.

Nonetheless, she mocked him once more on Friday by saying: "This is what happens when you don't recycle your pizza boxes."

Social media figure and former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate. Photo: Wikipedia commons

Tate, a British-American former kickboxer who regularly boasts about his wealth, cars and extravagant lifestyle, had his Twitter account reinstated after Elon Musk took over the site.

He was banned from platforms including Facebook, TikTok and YouTube over his misogynistic comments, which sparked concerns he was radicalising young men.

Tate has said that women are the property of their husbands and bear some responsibility if they are raped.

He has also stated that he moved to Romania partly to escape "the Me Too era", which he portrayed as a culture of overblown sexual assault allegations.

In 2016 he briefly appeared on a British series of Big Brother but was removed after a video emerged appearing to show him attacking a woman.

Updated: December 30, 2022, 2:09 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS