BUCHAREST, Romania -- A Romanian court on Wednesday ruled for the fourth time to extend by 30 days the preventative arrest of Andrew Tate, the divisive social media influencer who is held on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking, an official said.
Tate, 36, a British-U.S. citizen who has 5.4 million Twitter followers, was initially detained in late December in Romania’s capital Bucharest, along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women. None of the four has yet been formally indicted.
Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, said that a judge at the Bucharest Tribunal agreed on Wednesday to a request by prosecutors to keep all four detained while investigations continue. They can be held for a maximum of 180 days without being formally indicted.
Wednesday’s ruling comes after a Bucharest court last week rejected a bail request from Andrew Tate, who is expected to appeal Wednesday's extension, as he has done against the three prior 30-day extensions, all of which he lost. If they lose an appeal against Wednesday's ruling, all four will remain in detention until late April.
Tate, a professional kickboxer who has lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has repeatedly claimed Romanian prosecutors have no evidence and alleged their case is a “political” conspiracy designed to silence him.
On Wednesday, a post appeared on Andrew Tate's Twitter account, that read: “My whole life has been war. That is the difference between me and everyone else. I have knife scars. I have had 87 professional fights. Now I am in a Romanian Jail. I succeed and achieve regardless. And that is why when I speak, people listen. Heroes are built in War.”
DIICOT said in a statement after the December arrests that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were allegedly subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.
The agency said victims were lured with pretenses of love and later intimidated, placed under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for the financial gain of the crime group.