Evidence has emerged from the case prosecutors in Romania are building against controversial social media influencers Andrew and Tristan Tate, who face charges of human trafficking and forming an organized criminal group. Andrew also faces a charge of rape, and both brothers deny all the allegations.
The American-British brothers were charged in June after first being arrested at their Bucharest home in December. They were then placed under house arrest in March, and are accused alongside two Romanian women, Luana Radu and Georgiana Naghel, who also deny the charges.
The Tate brothers, particularly Andrew, have garnered huge followings online, gaining popularity among young men for their ultra-masculinity, highly controversial views and high-roller lifestyle. But Romanian prosecutors claim their wealth has been supplemented by illicit gains from illegal activity.
Prosecutors accused the brothers in a statement earlier this summer of recruiting alleged victims under the illusion of romantic intentions before moving them to a house on the outskirts of Bucharest. There, prosecutors say, the women were sexually exploited by the accused, who forced them to create pornographic content amid threats of violence and coercion.
Among a series of allegations in a 300-page prosecution document obtained by the BBC, prosecutors say they have testimony from several women who lived in a property near the Tate’s home on the edge of Bucharest. The women allege the four co-defendants controlled the income from their online pornographic content, as well as their passwords and account details.
Prosecutors allege co-defendants controlled and profited from OnlyFans – a platform for adult entertainers to sell subscriptions – content featuring the women. “I don’t want to tell them that they have OnlyFans, I want that money to be used by me and you, screw them,” Tristan allegedly said in what prosecutors say are transcripts from a 2022 audio message.
Tristan allegedly said in another audio clip: “Mainly I’m going to slave these b****** […] I’m going to make them work even more hours and hours and hours. … I work these b****** like slaves. […] SLAVE work. Minimum 10 or 12 hours a day.”
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However, two of the women who are classed by the prosecutors as victims insist they did not share their income with the co-defendants, and have publicly declared their support for them.
Andrew is accused of slapping a woman “across her face” and raping her. According to the prosecution, she could not resist because he held her head during sex and he threatened to “get her pregnant and lock her in a house.” The documents add the alleged victim was “crying and scared” because she thought Andrew “was capable of anything.”
Legal representatives for the brothers, who earn around £3.9million ($5 million) per month from their online groups War Room and Hustler’s University according to prosecutors, are expected to challenge the evidence in a pre-trial hearing before the end of the month, which could lead to some of the material being determined inadmissible. The trial itself could take years to conclude.
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