Andrew Tate, a hostile internet personality and known misogynist, has been charged in Romania with charges including human trafficking and forming an organized criminal group related to the abuse of women, prosecutors said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr Tate, 36, a former British American kickboxer, was living in Romania and was arrested there in December last year along with his younger brother Tristan Tate and two Romanian women. They were initially held in Bucharest Prison.
The four had been under house arrest since April as investigations continued into the charges brought against them after their arrest, which included charges of rape of a suspect, human trafficking and forming an organized criminal gang.
With the indictment filed, they will now face trial in a Bucharest court, and it is believed to be unclear when that will happen.
The prosecution’s statement does not specify which of the suspects is accused of rape, but a Bucharest Court of Appeal document dated January detailing the decision to extend pre-trial detention for the Tate brothers adds Andrew Tate’s initials to the charge. An official in the district attorney’s office, who spoke anonymously because the details are confidential, confirmed that the elder Mr. Tate was facing a rape charge.
The Tate brothers will attend a hearing Wednesday morning, according to Mattia Petrescu, a spokeswoman for Mr. Tate and his brother.
Mr. Tate, who has a large young following on social media, has a long history of misogynistic statements that women “belong” to men and has also portrayed men as victims of false accusations of rape and feminism.
He denied the charges against him in Romania, saying he was innocent, either through his lawyer or through his nearly seven million followers on Twitter.
“We seize the opportunity it presents to prove their innocence and defend their reputation,” Ms. Petrescu said, referring to Tuesday’s announcement of the indictment, calling the prosecutors’ decision “expected.”
It appears that Mr. Tate chose Romania as his home and base of his business operations because he believed he would be able to do what he liked there.
Mr. Tate told his admirers, “I like living in a society where my money, influence, and power mean that I am not inferior to or beholden” to any laws.
But in recent years the country has made efforts to tackle the endemic corruption and lawlessness for which it has long been notorious.
Among the charges Mr. Tate faces are accusations that he and other suspects formed a criminal group in 2021 to commit human trafficking across Romania, the US and Britain.
Prosecutors said the brothers misled the women into thinking they wanted a relationship and housed them outside Bucharest, where they were forced to view sex videos on the Internet.
Investigators identified seven women who said they were “sexually exploited” and forced to perform sexual acts on camera by the suspects, who posted the content for financial gain.
The statement of the prosecution said that on two separate occasions, one of the accused used violence and psychological pressure to rape one of the women, without specifying the accused. On another occasion, when one of the women asked to leave the premises, one of the accused used violence against her.
As part of the indictment, prosecutors requested forfeiture of the brothers’ assets, including more than $100,000 in various currencies, cryptocurrency valued at approximately $380,000, land and property in Romania, and luxury cars and watches. The defendants will also have to pay the legal costs of the case, which are expected to be around $60,000.
“I am sure this case has absolutely nothing to do with the theft of my fortune,” Mr. Tate said on Twitter on Tuesday with apparent sarcasm.
Mr. Tate tells his followers that he is the victim of a plot by “the Matrix” – a collective designation for what he sees as a plot by the “awakened” elite and feminists to castrate men.
“The Matrix sent its agents,” he told his Twitter followers last year after Romanian police stormed his headquarters.
Delia Marinescu contributed reporting from Bucharest.