Divisive online influencer and self-described misogynist Andrew Tate and his brother have been moved to house arrest while they are investigated for alleged human trafficking and rape after a Romanian court overturned a prosecutors’ request to keep them in police custody until late April.
Tate, his brother Tristan and two Romanian female suspects have been in police detention since December 29. Prosecutors are investigating them for suspected human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
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Accompanied by their Romanian lawyers, the brothers – who deny all charges brought against them – were released at approximately midnight [21:00 GMT] on Friday from the police central arrest premises in Bucharest. The two female suspects were also released.
“We see the court decision as legal, thorough and correct,” Tate’s lawyer Eugen Vidineac told reporters on Friday.
He said the brothers were forbidden from contacting witnesses and leaving the house without approval from authorities.
“We do not yet have the court’s motivation, we do not know whether there are other interdictions,” Vidineac said.
“We’re going home,” Tristan Tate told reporters in Romanian outside the prison. His brother Andrew did not comment.
A small group of supporters were waiting for them outside the prison, chanting “Top G” – as Andrew Tate is known among his online followers.
Earlier this week, the same Bucharest court of appeals denied the Tate brothers’ request to be released on bail.
In previous rulings that extended their stay in police custody, judges have said the Tate brothers posed a flight risk and that their release could jeopardise the investigation.
“All four are getting out tonight,” Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania’s DIICOT anti-organised crime unit told the Reuters news agency. “The decision is final, the investigation continues.”
Asked whether Friday’s ruling will speed up the investigation, Bolla said prosecutors have until the end of June to send the suspects to trial.
Under Romanian legislation, prosecutors have filed charges against the four suspects but the case is still under investigation and has not gone to trial.
Prosecutors have said the Tate brothers recruited their alleged victims by seducing them and falsely claiming to want a relationship or marriage. The victims were then coerced to produce pornographic content for social media sites that generated large financial gains.
The Tate brothers moved to Romania several years ago and Tristan has a baby son who was born after his arrest.
As part of the probe, Romanian police have raided several properties connected to the Tate brothers and seized many of their assets, including a collection of luxury cars.
A court document from January said that one woman was “recruited” from the United Kingdom after she fell in love with Andrew Tate, who then brought her to Romania “with the goal of sexual exploitation”.
In 2016, Tate appeared on the “Big Brother” reality television show in the UK but was removed after a video emerged showing him attacking a woman.
He then turned to social media to promote his divisive views before being banned from several social media platforms for misogynistic remarks and hate speech.
Tate was allowed back on Twitter, where he has 5.5 million followers, after the South African-born billionaire Elon Musk bought the company.