Internet personality Tate moved to house arrest after court ruling

AFP / Daniel Mihailescu

Social media personality Andrew Tate was moved to house arrest late Friday after a Romanian court overturned prosecutors' request to keep him in police custody until late April.

Tate, his brother Tristan and two Romanian female suspects have been under police detention since December 29 as prosecutors investigate them for suspected human trafficking and forming a criminal gang to exploit women.

They have denied all accusations.

"We see the court decision as legal, thorough and correct," Tate's lawyer Eugen Vidineac told reporters.

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."

"I've been in one room since last year, so it's a little bit emotional," Tate told supporters gathered outside his home late on Friday.

"I truly believe that justice will be served in the end; there is zero per cent chance of me being found guilty of something I have not done; I maintain my absolute innocence."

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.

"The (court) decision is final; the investigation continues," Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania's DIICOT anti-organised crime unit, told Reuters.

Asked whether Friday's ruling will speed up the investigation, Bolla said prosecutors have until end-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 inappropriate content for social media sites that generated large financial gains.

Tate, who has been based mainly in Romania since 2017, is an online influencer and self-described misogynist who has built up a following of millions of fans, particularly among young men drawn to his hyper-macho image.

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