Andrew Tate used deception and intimidation to turn women into 'slaves', say prosecutors

The influencer is being held in Romania on charges of being part of an organised crime group, human trafficking and rape

Police officers escort Andrew Tate handcuffed to his brother Tristan, right, from the Court of Appeal after they appealed the decision to extend their arrest by another 30 days term in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Feb.  1, 2023.  Divisive influencer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan, are held on charges of being part of an organized crime group, human trafficking and rape.  (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)
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Social media personality Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan used deception and intimidation to bring six women under their control and "transform them into slaves", prosecutors have said.

The British-American citizen, who has 4.7 million followers on Twitter, has been held in Romania since he was arrested on December 29, along with his sibling, on charges of rape, human trafficking and being part of an organised crime group.

The pair recently lost appeals against a decision to extend their detention by another 30 days.

The court in Romania rejected four appeals. The pair will remain in custody until February 27 while prosecutors continue investigating the case.

A newly revealed court document, dated December 30, contains details of how Tate is being investigated over two counts of rape of a woman from Moldova, who he lured by discussing marriage and offering her a new life.

"You must understand that once you are mine, you will be mine for ever," Tate told her on February 4 last year in one of dozens of WhatsApp messages cited by Romanian prosecutors who allege he trafficked and sexually exploited several women.

Tate urged the Moldovan woman to join him in Romania. "Nothing bad will happen," he reassured her on February 9. "But you have to be on my side."

The following month, prosecutors say, Tate raped the woman twice in the country while seeking to enlist her in a human-trafficking operation focused on making pornography for the online platform OnlyFans, a site that allows people to sell explicit videos of themselves.

The allegations are included in the court document, reviewed by Reuters, which paints the most detailed picture yet of the illicit business allegedly run by Tate and his brother.

Tate, 36, who's been based mainly in Romania since 2017, and his 34-year-old brother have denied all the allegations against them.

In response to questions, their lawyer Eugen Vidineac said he could not publicly discuss information about the case while the investigation was continuing. Romania's anti-organised crime unit also said its prosecutors couldn't comment on the probe.

The 61-page file, produced by Bucharest court officials, comprises minutes of a hearing when a judge extended the Tates' detention plus evidence submitted by the prosecution.

Andrew Tate detained in Romania — in pictures

Mr Vidineac said the brothers' alleged victims weren't mistreated, but "lived off the backs of the famous Tates", according to the court document. "They were joyful and nobody was forcing them to do these things," he added.

The lawyer acknowledged in the document that Tate and the Moldovan woman had sex, but he said it was consensual and accused her of fabricating the rape claims.

The allegations against Andrew Tate have put intense focus on a self-described misogynist who has built an online fan base, particularly among young men, by promoting a lavish, hyper-macho image of driving fast cars and dating beautiful women.

In 2022, he was the world's eighth-most Googled person, outranked only by figures such as Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Vladimir Putin, according to Google's analysis.

Prosecutors say the Tates controlled the victims' OnlyFans' accounts and earnings amounting to tens of thousands of euros, underlining concerns among some human rights groups about the potential for the exploitation of women on such platforms.

Reuters said it could not verify the existence of the alleged victims' OnlyFans accounts.

UK-based OnlyFans has 150 million users who pay "creators" monthly fees of varying amounts for their content, much of it explicit, but also in areas such as fitness training and music.

An OnlyFans representative said Andrew Tate "has never had" a creator account or received payments.

The official said OnlyFans had been monitoring him since early 2022 ― and took "proactive measures" to stop him from posting or monetising content ― without elaborating on the reasons for the scrutiny or the steps taken.

The representative added that creators as a whole underwent extensive identification checks and that all content was reviewed by the platform, which worked closely with law enforcement.

Tate has compared women to dogs and said they bear some responsibility for being raped. His remarks got him banned from Facebook, Instagram and other leading social media platforms last year.

Tate's Twitter account, which was reinstated in November, one month after billionaire Elon Musk bought the platform, protests his innocence.

"They have arrested me to 'look' for evidence ... which they will not find because it doesn't exist," said a January 15 post.

Updated: February 03, 2023, 1:07 PM