Romanian prosecutors have sent divisive internet personality Andrew Tate, his brother Tristan and two other suspects to trial on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
The anti-organised crime prosecution’s unit (DIICOT) on Tuesday “ordered the indictment” of the four defendants for offences, including “setting up an organised criminal group … trafficking in persons … rape”, they said.
Andrew Tate has also been charged with raping one of the victims, while his brother Tristan has been charged with instigating others to violence.
The Tate brothers and two Romanian female suspects are under house arrest pending a criminal investigation for abuses committed against seven women, accusations they have denied.
The four were held in police custody from December 29 until March 31, before a Bucharest court put them under house arrest.
The trial will not start immediately.
Several women have spoken out about their alleged ordeals, accusing the brothers of misogyny and abuse.
Under Romanian law, the case gets sent to the court’s preliminary chamber, where a judge has 60 days to inspect the case files to ensure legality.
The Tate brothers are the highest profile suspects to be sent to trial in Romania for human trafficking.
Prosecutors have said the Tate brothers recruited their victims by seducing them and falsely claiming to want a relationship or marriage.
As part of the probe, Romanian police have raided several properties connected to the Tate brothers and seized assets, including a collection of luxury cars.
A dual citizen of the United States and Britain, former kickboxer Andrew Tate moved to Romania years ago, after first starting a webcam business in the UK.
In 2016, Tate appeared on the “Big Brother” reality television show in Britain but was removed after a video emerged showing him attacking a woman.
He then turned to social media platforms to promote his divisive views. He currently has 6.9 million followers on Twitter.
In 2022, the words “Andrew Tate” were among the most searched on Google. But many adults only learnt of his existence in recent months, despite his influence on young men in the English-speaking world and beyond.
He went viral in December after he launched a bizarre Twitter attack on climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
“Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions”, he wrote to her, posting a photo of him filling a Bugatti with petrol.
Thunberg’s crushing reply referencing his “smalldickenergy” was retweeted over 570,000 times.
Giving tips on how to be successful, along with misogynist and sometimes violent maxims, his videos have made him one of the world’s best-known influencers.