Romanian prosecutors search electronic devices in Andrew Tate case

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Controversial internet personality Andrew Tate, who is under house arrest in Romania on suspicion of organised crime and human trafficking, appeared at prosecutors’ offices on Monday for forensic searches of electronic equipment confiscated during investigations, his lawyer said.

The 36-year-old British-US citizen, who has six million Twitter followers, was initially detained in late December in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women. None of the four has yet been formally indicted.

Both of the Tates appeared at the Bucharest offices of the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) on Monday as forensic searches were carried out, said their lawyer, Eugen Vidineac.

Romania Andrew Tate
Andrew Tate, front, and his brother Tristan arrive at the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism in Bucharest (Andreea Alexandru/AP)

Prosecutors have already carried out several device searches since they were detained.

As the Tates left the DIICOT offices on Monday, they were met by a scrum of media, and a handful of supporters who chanted “Top-G, Top-G!” – one of the monikers used by fans.

Asked how he is feeling, Tristan Tate told reporters: “I’m always OK. I was OK in jail, I’m OK now.”

Mr Vidineac told the Associated Press that prosecutors have seized “a lot of devices” in the case and that they’re “still looking for the information, even now”.

“Being under arrest, even home arrest, the searches (are) mandatory to be done in their presence,” he said.

“The prosecutor is doing his job, we respect the job of the prosecutor, of the authorities, we let them do the investigation … and we await the results.”

Romania Andrew Tate
The Tate brothers were met at the DIICOT offices in Bucharest by a scrum of media, and a handful of supporters (Andreea Alexandru/AP)

A tweet that appeared on his account on Sunday read: “The world makes a lot more sense once you understand that most people don’t even want to be free.”

A professional kickboxer who has resided in Romania since 2017, he was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.

He has repeatedly claimed that Romanian prosecutors have no evidence and alleged their case is a political conspiracy designed to silence him.

DIICOT said in a statement after the December arrests that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were allegedly subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.

The agency said victims were lured with pretences of love and later intimidated, placed under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for the financial gain of the crime group.

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