BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Andrew Tate, the divisive internet influencer who is charged in Romania with rape, human trafficking and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women, won an appeal on Friday to be released from house arrest, his spokesperson said.
Tate won’t be able to leave the country. He also will not be allowed to be “in close proximity with any of the other defendants, any of the witnesses or any of the alleged victims and their immediate family,” his spokesperson, Mateea Petrescu, said in a statement.
“This positive outcome gives us confidence that more favorable developments are on the horizon,” Petrescu said.
The decision at the Bucharest Court of Appeal comes after prosecutors formally indicted 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 allegations against them.
The court’s decision says all four defendants will be subjected to geographical restrictions limiting them to the territories of Bucharest Municipality and the nearby Ilfov County unless they get prior approval from a judge.
Standing outside his large home near Bucharest on Friday, Andrew Tate told the media “We’ve been completely innocent since the beginning of this.”
“In January when I was thrown in a jail cell, the media reported and told the world I was a terrible person, they said that I hurt people and that I make a lot of money from criminal enterprises,” he said, “and here we stand seven or eights month later and I’ve not seen a single victim on the news.”
“I’ve seen lots of people sticking up for me, lots of people defending me and I’ve not seen a single person stand up and say that I have hurt them,” he added.
If the defendants violate the terms of their judicial obligations, the court reading states, they can be returned to house arrest or preventive arrest.
The Tate brothers, who are dual U.K. and U.S. citizens, challenged a court’s July 18 decision to keep them under house arrest as the criminal case against them continues. The brothers won an appeal in late March to be moved to house arrest after spending three months in a police detention facility.
Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, had requested in June that judges extend the house arrest measure after the agency filed its criminal investigation.
Andrew Tate, who has been accused of peddling 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 Britain.
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 subjected them to physical violence. One defendant is accused of raping a woman twice in March 2022, according to the agency. The women were allegedly controlled by “intimidation, constant surveillance” and claims 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 that women should bear responsibility for being sexually assaulted.
Several women in Britain also are pursuing civil claims to obtain damages from Tate, alleging they were victims of sexual violence.
During their investigations, prosecutors have ordered the confiscation of the Tate brothers’ assets, including 15 luxury cars, luxury watches and about $3 million in cryptocurrency.
McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania.