BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Andrew Tate, the divisive Internet influencer accused in Romania of rape, human trafficking and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women, won an appeal Friday to be released from house arrest, said his spokesman.
Tate will not be able to leave the country. He also will not be allowed to be “in close proximity to any of the other defendants, any of the witnesses or any of the alleged victims and their immediate family,” his spokesman, Mateea Petrescu, said in a declaration.
“This positive result gives us confidence that a more favorable development is on the horizon,” Petrescu said.
The ruling by the Bucharest Court of Appeal comes after prosecutors formally charged the 36-year-old Tate in June, along with his brother, Tristan, and two Romanian women in the same case. All four were arrested in late December near Bucharest and have denied the charges against them.
The court’s decision says all four defendants will be subject to geographical restrictions, limiting them to the territories of Bucharest Municipality and nearby Ilfov County, unless they get prior approval from a judge.
“After 10 months. 3 in prison, 7 at home. After 15 million euros in asset seizure. After an outrage based on nothing. The case was passed to a judge who has ruled it too weak and circumstantial. I have been released from house arrest , but must remain in Romania,” read a post on Andrew Tate’s Twitter following Friday’s ruling.
If the defendants violate the terms of their legal obligations, it appears from the court reading that they can be returned to house arrest or preventive detention.
The Tate brothers, who are dual British and American citizens, challenged a court ruling 18 July decision to keep them under house arrest while the criminal case against them continues. The brothers won an appeal at the end of March to be moved to House arrest after spending three months in police custody.
Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, had requested in June that judges extend the house arrest measure after the agency submitted its criminal investigation.
Andrew Tate, who has been accused of selling conspiracy theories online and has amassed 7.5 million Twitter followers, has repeatedly claimed that prosecutors have no evidence against him and that there is a political conspiracy designed to silence him .
DIICOT alleges that the four defendants formed a criminal group in 2021 to “commit the crime of human trafficking” in Romania as well as in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Seven female victims in the case, DIICOT said, were lured with false pretenses of love and transported to Romania, where the gang sexually exploited and physically abused them. According to the agency, a defendant is accused of raping a woman twice in March 2022. The women were allegedly controlled by “intimidation, constant surveillance” and allegations that they were in debt, prosecutors said.
Andrew Tate was previously banned from several prominent social media platforms for expressing hate speech and misogynistic comments, including holding women responsible for being sexually assaulted.
Several women in Britain are also pursuing civil claims for compensation from Tate, claiming they were victims of sexual assault.
McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania.