Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan remain in custody until February 27 after a Romanian court extended their detention on Friday.
The British-American kickboxing champion turned sexist influencer and his brother are under investigation for rape and human trafficking allegations. A Bucharest District Court judge has ruled that the couple must remain in police custody for an additional 30 days while authorities conduct their investigation.
The Tate brothers and two Romanian women were arrested last month over allegations they were part of an organized crime group that local authorities say exploited women by forcing them to produce pornography. Prosecutors say Tate would pretend to want romantic relationships with the alleged victims before forcing them to create the explicit content. All four suspects deny the allegations.
Before Friday’s hearing, lawyers for the Tate brothers argued that prosecutors had not presented any new evidence against the defendants and that they were “optimistic” that the extension of the detention would be refused, the TBEN reports.
Ramona Bolla, a spokesman for Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT, said prosecutors on Thursday requested a one-month extension to keep all four in custody as the investigation is still ongoing, according to Sky News. The successful request comes after the defendants lost an appeal last week to overturn an earlier decision that extended their detention from 24 hours to 30 days.
Authorities also last week seized Tate’s assets worth about $4 million, including luxury cars and watches from its compound on the outskirts of Bucharest, Reuters reports. Tate is said to have moved to the Eastern European country in 2017.
Before his arrest, Tate amassed an army of millions of online followers despite being banned from major platforms such as TikTok, YouTube and Instagram for his violently sexist rhetoric. Though Twitter banned his account in 2017 after Tate believed female rape victims should bear “some responsibility” for their assaults, his account was reinstated last year. He now has 4.7 million followers on the site.
Tate was arrested in Britain in 2015 on suspicion of rape, Vice reported earlier this month, but British authorities ultimately decided not to press charges. The site later reported that Tate contacted one of his alleged victims to say, “I love raping you.” Tate denied any wrongdoing in a statement to the outlet.