Divisive influencer Tate loses appeal against asset seizures
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) – A court in Romania’s capital Bucharest has rejected an appeal by divisive social media personality Andrew Tate against asset seizures by prosecutors investigating him on charges of being part of an organized crime group. and human trafficking, an official. said Wednesday.
Tate, 36, a British-US citizen who has 4.5 million Twitter followers, was arrested on December 29 in Bucharest along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women. On Tuesday, a court upheld a judge’s December 30 order to extend their detention from 24 hours to 30 days.
In a separate hearing Wednesday in Bucharest court, Tate lost an appeal challenging the assets seized by prosecutors, including properties and a fleet of luxury cars, said Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT.
The court “ruled that the seizures are legal and (that) the goods remain at our disposal,” she told The Associated Press.
Prosecutors investigating the case have so far seized 15 luxury cars – 11 in raids in December and four last week – at least seven of which are owned by the Tate brothers and more than 10 properties and land owned by registered companies in them. Bolla said it is not clear whether any assets seized since December are included in Wednesday’s appeal.
If prosecutors can prove Tates made money through human trafficking, Bolla said the assets could be used to cover the costs of the investigation and compensate victims.
Before the court’s decision on Wednesday, Konstantin Gliga, one of the lawyers representing Tate, told the media that the asset seizure was disproportionate to the charges.
DIICOT said it has identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and sexually exploited by members of the suspected crime group.
The agency said the victims were lured by pretenses of love, and later intimidated, kept under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being forced to perform in pornography intended to make money for their alleged persecutors.
Tate, a former professional kickboxer who has reportedly been living in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various popular social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.
McGrath contributed from Sighisoara, Romania.