Romanian court rejects bail request by divisive Andrew Tate

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court on Tuesday rejected a bail request from the divisive social media influencer and former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate who is detained in the country on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking, an official said.

Tate, 36, a British-U.S. citizen who has 5.3 million Twitter followers, was initially detained in late December in Romania’s capital Bucharest, along with his brother Tristan, and two Romanian women. None of the four has yet been formally charged in the case.

After a morning hearing Tuesday at the Bucharest Tribunal, a judge rejected Tate’s bail request, said Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT. It is not clear what bail conditions were proposed by Tate’s legal team.

In Romania, it is rare for defendants under preventative arrest for serious crimes to request posting bail. More common are requests to be placed under other judicial conditions such as house arrest or geographical restrictions.

The court’s decision comes after the Tate brothers lost an appeal last month against a judge’s Feb. 21 ruling to extend their arrest for a third time for 30 days. It was the third separate appeal they lost against decisions to extend their detention while investigations continue.

A January court document explaining a previous arrest extension noted “the possibility of them evading investigations cannot be ignored,” and said they could “leave Romania and settle in countries that do not allow extradition.” Tate will remain in detention until at least Mar. 29.

Before Tuesday’s court decision, a post appeared on Andrew Tate’s Twitter account, that read: “If you want a life people will aspire for, you’ll need to be prepared to defend it.”

Tate, who has lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has repeatedly claimed Romanian prosecutors have no evidence and alleged their case is a “political” conspiracy designed to silence him.

DIICOT said in a statement after the December arrests that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were allegedly subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.

The agency said victims were lured with pretenses of love and later intimidated, placed under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for the financial gain of the crime group.

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McGrath reported from Kidderminster, England.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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