Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan have appeared at a Romanian court after being charged with human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
The siblings are accused, along with two Romanian women, of tricking seven alleged victims with false declarations of love and transporting them to take part in pornography. The women were allegedly controlled by “intimidation, constant surveillance” and claims they were in debt, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors accuse Andrew Tate, 36, of raping one of the alleged victims, while Tristan, 34, is charged with instigating others to violence. The brothers vehemently deny the accusations.
The pair arrived Wednesday at a court in the capital Bucharest, flanked by six bodyguards.
Asked by reporters “how much money have you made from trafficking women?” outside court ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, Tate snapped: “Zero.”
He told reporters: “We’re not the first affluent wealthy men who have been unfairly attacked.”
Tate, who has US and British nationality, also thanked his supporters across the world and gave a “special thanks” to Romania, saying: “The number of Romanian people who send me messages is absolutely fantastic.”
He added: “This is my home. I love this country, I’m going to stay here regardless no matter what, and I look forward to being found innocent at the end of everything.”
Tate‘s spokesperson, Mateea Petrescu, said Tuesday that the brothers were prepared to “demonstrate their innocence and vindicate their reputation.
“Tate‘s legal team are prepared to cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities, presenting all necessary evidence to exonerate the brothers and expose any misinterpretations or false accusations,” Ms Petrescu said.
Prosecutors ordered the confiscation of the Tate brothers’ assets, including 15 luxury cars, luxury watches and about $3 million in cryptocurrency, the agency’s statement said.
The former kickboxers, who have millions of online followers, are the highest profile suspects to be sent to trial in Romania for human trafficking.
Andrew Tate was also a contestant on the UK reality show Big Brother and gained notoriety for misogynistic remarks and hate speech.
His views got him banned from all major social media platforms, although his Twitter account became active again in November after Elon Musk acquired the platform and has grown an audience of more than 4.5 million followers.
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