A Romanian court has upheld the decision to extend the detention of controversial influencer Andrew Tate to 30 days.
The British-American national and his brother Tristan have been in custody since 29 December on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group.
Andrew Tate, a professional kickboxer turned influencer, has lost his appeal at the Bucharest Court of Appeal against a judge’s 20 January decision to extend his arrest a second time for 30 days, said Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT.
The 36-year-old arrived at court handcuffed to his brother Tristan who is held in the same case along with two Romanian women.
It is alleged the Tates recruited their victims by seducing them and falsely claiming to want a relationship or marriage.
Prosecutors say the women were then forced to produce pornographic content under duress.
Andrew Tate is also accused of raping one of the victims in March 2022.
All four deny the allegations.
The court has rejected all four of their appeals against extending their arrests for 30 days and they will remain in custody until 27 February as prosecutors continue investigating the case.
As he left court on Wednesday, Andrew Tate said: “Ask them for evidence and they will give you none, because it doesn’t exist. You’ll find out the truth of this case soon.”
A document seen by the Associated Press news agency explaining the 20 January decision said the judge took into account the “particular dangerousness of the defendants” and their capacity to identify victims “with an increased vulnerability, in search of better life opportunities”.
Ioan Gliga, a lawyer representing the Tate brothers, said the defence presented “solid arguments” that the extended detention period “is not necessary”.
Meanwhile, US lawyer Tina Glandian, who has joined the Tates’ legal team, told a news conference on Wednesday there was a lack of evidence against the brothers.
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‘Insufficient evidence against Andrew Tate’.
Both brothers took turns addressing the court during the latest hearing and were “very forthcoming”, said Ms Glandian.
She said the lack of evidence was shown by the fact there were still no charges despite the brothers being in custody for a month and police investigating since April.
She called it a “violation of international human rights and the due process of law” and suggested “outside pressures” were keeping them locked up.
Ms Glandian said that Tristan Tate had also been unable to meet his new three-week-old child.
She also denied the brothers could flee Romania and suggested other measures such as removing passports or house arrest could be used.
Andrew Tate, who has reportedly lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.
He has claimed there is “zero evidence” against him in the case and alleged it is instead a political attack to silence him.
“My case is not criminal, it’s political. It’s not about justice or fairness. It’s about attacking my influence on the world,” read a post that appeared on his Twitter account which was reinstated in November.
After the Tates and the two women were arrested, Romania’s anti-organised crime agency, DIICOT, said in a statement that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.
The agency said victims were lured with pretenses of love, and later intimidated, surveilled and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for substantial financial gains.
Earlier in January, Romanian authorities descended on a compound near Bucharest where they towed away a fleet of luxury cars that included a blue Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Porsche.
They reported seizing assets worth an estimated $3.9m (£3.2m).
Prosecutors have said that if they can prove the owners gained money through illicit activities such as human trafficking, the assets would be used to cover the expenses of the investigation and to compensate victims.
Tate also unsuccessfully appealed the asset seizure.