Published30 December 2022
The controversial British-American influencer Andrew Tate will be held in detention in Romania for 30 days, after a court agreed to a police request.
Tate was arrested alongside his brother Tristan on Thursday as part of an investigation into allegations of human trafficking and rape, which they deny.
Authorities suspect the pair, along with two Romanian men, of running “an organised crime group”.
Tristan, and two others, were also detained by the court in Bucharest.
Outside the court, the Tates’ lawyer, Eugen Vidineac, said they would appeal against the detention.
“We are not at a stage where guilt or innocence is proven, for now we only discuss preventive measures,” he added. Mr Vidineac told the BBC his clients reject all the allegations.
Andrew Tate, 36, has yet to comment directly on the accusations.
But after being detained, a tweet was sent from his Twitter account alluding to the 1999 movie The Matrix.
“The Matrix sent their agents,” the post said. The account also retweeted Matrix memes posted by Twitter owner Elon Musk.
During the detention hearing, the two brothers maintained their right to silence, their lawyer told the BBC.
Earlier, a police spokesperson told the BBC that the 36-year-old would be held at a “detention centre”.
On Thursday night, Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism issued a statement, but did not name the Tate brothers, stating that two British citizens and two Romanian citizens were suspected of being part of a human trafficking group.
The statement said officers had identified six people who were allegedly “sexually exploited” by what it called an “organised criminal group”.
Police alleged the victims were “recruited” by the British citizens, who they said had misrepresented their intention to enter into a relationship with the victims – which it called “the loverboy method”.
They were later forced to perform in pornographic content under threat of violence, the statement alleged.
Born in the US before moving to the UK, Mr Tate went on to have a successful career as a kickboxer.
In 2016, he was removed from British TV show Big Brother over a video which appeared to show him attacking a woman. He then set up a “webcam business”, which he described as “adult entertainment”.
He went on to gain global notoriety and online, with Twitter banning him for saying women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted. He has since been reinstated.
But despite social media bans he gained popularity, particularly among young men, by promoting an ultra-masculine, ultra-luxurious lifestyle.
He regularly appeared in videos with his fleet of expensive sports cars, private jets and on expensive holidays.
Tate moved to Romania five years ago. Rumours swirled online that police were tipped off to Tate’s presence in the country when he posted a video taking aim at the environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
In the footage he posted, he was handed a pizza box from a local restaurant, which some users suggested had inadvertently revealed his location.
However, the pizza box is not thought to be relevant.
The row with the activist began earlier this week when Tate, 36, tagged the 19-year-old in a post boasting about the “enormous emissions” produced by his fleet of cars.
Following the arrest, she tweeted “this is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes,” referring to the online rumour.