Social media influencer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan have appeared in court, charged with human trafficking and forming an organised crime group.
Andrew Tate also faces a rape charge, and Tristan Tate is accused of inciting violence, while two Romanian women are charged with being part of an organised crime group.
Romania’s anti-organised crime agency allege that the four defendants formed a criminal group in 2021 “in order to commit the crime of human trafficking” in Romania as well as the U.S. and Britain.
The agency allege that seven female victims were misled and transported to Romania, where they were sexually exploited and subjected to physical violence by the gang. One defendant is accused of raping a woman twice in March 2022, according to the statement.
All four strongly deny any wrongdoing.
Speaking outside court, Andrew Tate said: “We’re not the first affluent, wealthy men who have been unfairly attacked in our situation. Unfortunately, it happens quite often. I look forward to being found innocent at the end of everything.”
He added: “I want to thank the whole world for all the support we get. I also want to give a very special thanks to Romania and the Romanian people. The number of Romanian people who have sent me messages of support is absolutely fantastic, this is my home, I love this country, I’m going to stay here regardless no matter what.”
Tate’s spokesperson, Mateea Petrescu, said on Tuesday that the brothers were prepared to “demonstrate their innocence and vindicate their reputation.”
“Tate’s legal team are prepared to cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities, presenting all necessary evidence to exonerate the brothers and expose any misinterpretations or false accusations,” Petrescu said.
Tate, 36, is a former TV star and kickboxer who has become a popular but divisive online figure.
His glamorous lifestyle and forthright views are revered by many young men, but his views on women have led to bans from some social media platforms – which he said were taken out of context.
The Tates have lived in Romania since 2017 but were arrested in December last year and held in custody without charge or trial until March, before being released on house arrest.
The court will make a decision on their ongoing detention situation on Friday. It is not yet clear when their trial will start.