Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Andrew Tate free to leave Romania, but not EU ahead of alleged human trafficking, rape trial

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A Romanian court on Friday eased travel restrictions on controversial influencer Andrew Tate and his brother, allowing them to travel within the European Union while awaiting trial over human trafficking and rape charges.

Andrew Tate and his brother face charges of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal group to sexually exploit women.(AP)

US-born Briton Tate and his brother Tristan, who say they are innocent, are accused of having formed an organised criminal network in early 2021 in Romania and in Britain.

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The former professional kickboxer and his brother face charges of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal group to sexually exploit women.

The Bucharest court on Friday said it “orders the replacement of the obligation of the (two) defendants… not to leave the territory of Romania with the obligation of the defendants not to leave the territorial limit of the European Union”.

They can leave the EU zone only “with the prior authorisation of the judge of the preliminary chamber or the court,” it said.

The brothers would still be subject to judicial supervision, which requires them to appear before authorities regularly.

The Tates’ spokeswoman Mateea Petrescu welcomed the ruling, saying her clients could now “pursue professional opportunities without restriction”.

At the end of 2022, the Tates were arrested in Romania and spent three months in detention before they were indicted in June 2023.

Prosecutors allege that 37-year-old Tate, his brother and two women set up a criminal organisation and sexually exploited several victims.

The victims were allegedly forced to engage in pornographic acts.

The Tates also face rape and assault allegations in separate cases in Britain, where authorities issued a European arrest warrant.

In March, a Romanian judge ordered the brothers to be extradicted to the UK to face the accusations, but only once after a separate Romanian criminal case against them is finished.

A trial date in Romania has not yet been set.

Tate moved to Romania years ago after first starting a webcam business in the UK.

In 2016, Tate appeared on the “Big Brother” reality television show in Britain but was removed after a video emerged showing him attacking a woman.

He then turned to social media platforms to promote his divisive views.

Giving tips on how to be successful, along with misogynistic and sometimes violent maxims, his videos have made him one of the world’s best-known influencers.

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