Court says social media influencer Andrew Tate can leave Romania but remain in EU as he awaits trial

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A court in Romania’s capital ruled Friday that social media influencer Andrew Tate can leave Romania but must remain within the European Union as he awaits trial on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.

The Bucharest Tribunal’s decision to allow Tate, 37, to leave the country was hailed by his spokesperson, Mateea Petrescu, as a “significant victory and a major step forward” in the case. It is not clear whether prosecutors can or will appeal the court’s decision.

Tate, a former professional kickboxer and dual British U.S. citizen, was initially arrested in December 2022 near Bucharest along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women. Romanian prosecutors formally indicted all four in June last year and all four have denied the allegations.

After Friday’s decision, Tate wrote on the social media platform X: “I AM FREE. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 3 YEARS I CAN LEAVE ROMANIA. THE SHAM CASE IS FALLING APART.”

“We embrace and applaud the decision of the court today, I consider it a reflection of the exemplary behavior and assistance of my clients,” said Eugen Vidineac, one of Tate’s lawyers, adding that the Tates are “still determined to clear their name and reputation.”

On April 26, the Bucharest Tribunal ruled that the prosecutors’ case file against Tate met the legal criteria and that a trial could start but did not set a date for it to begin. That ruling came after the legal case had been discussed for months in the preliminary chamber stages, a process in which the defendants can challenge prosecutors’ evidence and case file.

After the Tate brothers’ arrest, they were held for three months in police detention before being moved to house arrest. They were later restricted to Bucharest municipality and nearby Ilfov county, and then to Romania.

Vidineac said the ability to travel within the 27-nation EU bloc will allow the Tates to “pursue professional opportunities without restriction.”

Andrew Tate, who has amassed 9.5 million followers on the social media platform X, has repeatedly claimed that prosecutors have no evidence against him and that there is a political conspiracy to silence him. He was previously banned from various social media platforms for allegedly expressing misogynistic views and using hate speech.

In a separate case, Andrew Tate was served at his home in Romania with a civil lawsuit lodged by four British women after a claim was issued by the High Court in London, according to a statement released in May by McCue Jury & Partners, the law firm representing the four women.

The four allege Tate sexually and physically assaulted them and reported him to British authorities in 2014 and 2015. After a four-year investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service decided in 2019 not to prosecute him. The alleged victims then turned to crowdfunding to pursue a civil case against him.

In a separate third case, the Tate brothers also appeared in March at the Bucharest Court of Appeal after British authorities issued arrest warrants over allegations of sexual aggression in a U.K. case dating back to 2012-2015.

The appeals court granted the British request to extradite the Tates to the U.K., but only after legal proceedings in Romania have concluded.


McGrath reported from Brasov, Romania.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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