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Romanian officers search seven homes in Andrew Tate probe

Romanian police said that they have identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were subjected to ‘acts of physical violence and mental coercion’.

ROMANIA’S ANTI-ORGANISED crime agency has carried out additional house searches in its investigation into social media influencer Andrew Tate, an official said.

Ramona Bolla, spokesperson for the DIICOT agency, said searches are taking place in the counties of Bucharest, Ilfov and Prahova “to obtain further evidence”.

Tate, a British-US citizen who has 4.5 million followers on Twitter, was detained on December 29 in Romania’s capital Bucharest on charges of being part of an organised crime group, human trafficking and rape.

His brother Tristan and two Romanian women were also arrested.

On Tuesday, a court upheld a judge’s move on December 30 to extend their arrest from 24 hours to 30 days.

Thursday’s searches come a day after Tate lost a second appeal this week at a Bucharest court, where he challenged the seizure of assets by prosecutors in the late December raids, including properties, land and a fleet of luxury cars.

More than 10 properties and land owned by companies registered to the Tate brothers have also been seized.

Ms Bolla said the court “decided that the seizures are legal and (that) the goods remain at our disposal”.

If they can prove the Tates made money through human trafficking, the assets could be used to cover the expenses of the investigation and compensation for victims, she added.

DIICOT says it has 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 by pretences of love, and later intimidated, kept under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into performing in pornography to make money for their alleged persecutors.

“We make it clear that during the entire criminal process, the investigated persons benefit from the procedural rights… as well as the presumption of innocence,” DIICOT added in its statement on Thursday.

Tate, 36, a former professional kickboxer who has reportedly lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.

Press Association