Andrew Tate indicted on human trafficking, rape charges
Romanian officials have forwarded charges against divisive online influencer Andrew Tate for trial. He is accused of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang.
Romanian prosecutors on Tuesday said they were sending controversial influencer Andrew Tate to trial on charges of trafficking, rape, and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
The former kickboxer, who has millions of online followers, has been in detention or under house arrest in Romania since last December.
Tate's brother Tristan and two female Romanian suspects face similar allegations.
What are the allegations?
The anti-organized crime prosecution's unit (DIICOT) said it "ordered the indictment" of the four for offenses that included "setting up an organized criminal group... trafficking in persons... rape."
Tate himself is accused of raping one of the victims, while his brother allegedly instigated others to violence.
The four are also indicted for "illegal access to a computer system, altering the integrity of computer data, instigation to assault or other violence and assault or other violence."
A statement from Tate's spokesperson said his client embraced the opportunity to demonstrate innocence.
After the December arrest, Romania's anti-organized crime agency said in a statement that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case. It said they had been subjected to "acts of physical violence and mental coercion" and that they had been sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.
It said the suspects lured victims with pretenses of love and later intimidated them, placed them under surveillance, and subjected them to other control tactics. They then allegedly coerced the victims into engaging in pornographic acts for the financial gain of the criminal enterprise.
According to Romanian law, a judge in the court's preliminary chamber now has 60 days to inspect the case files to ensure legality.
Who is Andrew Tate?
The 36-year-old British-US citizen, well known for his misogynistic views, was arrested in late December in connection with the charges now being forwarded for trial.
In 2016, Tate appeared on the "Big Brother" reality television show in the UK but was removed after footage surfaced that showed him attacking a woman. He turned his attention to social media platforms to spread his divisive views. He currently has 6.9 million followers on Twitter.
Tate has reportedly lived in Romania since 2017 and has been previously banned from various social media platforms for hate speech.
He says Romanian prosecutors have no evidence and alleged their case is a "political" attack aimed at silencing him.