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Andrew Tate is indicted on human trafficking and rape charges in Romania

Andrew Tate is now under a formal criminal indictment in Romania, months after his arrest. He's seen here in April,  arriving at the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).
Daniel Mihailescu
AFP via Getty Images
Andrew Tate is now under a formal criminal indictment in Romania, months after his arrest. He's seen here in April, arriving at the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).

Romanian prosecutors have filed a criminal indictment against social media celebrity Andrew Tate and his brother, Tristan, accusing the pair of a raft of serious crimes that range from violence and rape to running a human-trafficking and organized crime ring.

Tate and his fellow defendants are accused of luring seven women to his properties in Romania in a conspiracy that began in 2021, with what the country's Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism dubs a "loverboy" ploy — making false promises of a romantic relationship to gain control over another person.

But after entering Tate's sphere of influence, the women were sexually exploited and forced to make pornographic videos — and one of the women was repeatedly raped in March of 2022, according to the prosecution agency, known as DIICOT.

To control the victims, prosecutors allege, Tate and other defendants used intimidation and constant surveillance, along with conjuring alleged debts the women were to repay. In one instance from October 2021, they illegally accessed a woman's social media accounts to post compromising images of her. When a woman refused to make more pornography in that same month, she was met with physical violence, prosecutors say.

The crimes are alleged to have taken place in the U.S., Great Britain, and Romania. Tate was arrested last December. Courts have repeatedly extended his 30-day detention period since then, although he and his associates were allowed to serve home detention as of late March.

Tate has said he moved to Romania in 2017, at least in part to avoid potential criminal charges for his actions."Romania remains a primary source country for sex trafficking and labor trafficking victims in Europe," according to the U.S. State Department, in its 2023 report on trafficking.

The Tate brothers and two Romanian women who are their co-defendants remain under house arrest. Under Romania's criminal justice system, the case is now in the hands of the Bucharest Tribunal, which would then decide the next step in resolving the case — likely by setting a trial date. There is no word yet on when that might happen.

As it announced the indictment, DIICOT also recommended the confiscation of a number of properties and assets, from real estate in three Romanian counties to 15 luxury cars. The list also includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in currency and cryptocurrency.

Tate has denied the charges against him, saying the investigation was prompted not by evidence but by other motives.

"Im sure this case has absolutely nothing to do with stealing my wealth," Tate said via Twitter on Tuesday.

Tate insists the authorities have no evidence against him, but he recently said he expected charges to be formally filed, saying prosecutors faced a six-month time limit to charge him.

Tate, 36, was arrested years after he translated a career in kickboxing into life as a controversial online influencer. Women have been central to his plan to build wealth — both through a large adult webcam operation he ran with his brother, and through selling online courses on how to manipulate women, as Reuters has reported.

In 2022, Tate's embrace of misogyny and hate speech resulted in bans from social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. He was allowed back onto Twitter last November, one month before his arrest.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.