Internet personality Andrew Tate to be moved to house arrest, lawyer says

FILE PHOTO: Andrew Tate and Tristan Tate are escorted by police officers outside the headquarters of the Bucharest Court of Appeal, in Bucharest, Romania, February 1, 2023. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via REUTERS

BUCHAREST (Reuters) -Social media personality Andrew Tate will be moved to house arrest on Friday evening after a Romanian court overturned prosecutors' request to keep him in police custody until late April, his lawyer said on Friday.

Tate, his brother Tristan and two Romanian female suspects have been under police detention since Dec. 29 as prosecutors investigate them for suspected human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.

They have denied all accusations.

"The judges from the appeal court in Bucharest admitted our appeal and rejected the proposal of the prosecutors to extend the warrant and changed the measure to home arrest for all the defendants," Tate's lawyer Eugen Constantin Vidineac told Reuters by telephone.

Earlier this week, the same Bucharest court of appeals denied the Tate brothers' request to be released on bail.

In previous rulings that extended their stay in police custody, judges have said the Tate brothers posed a flight risk and that their release could jeopardise the investigation.

"All four are getting out tonight," Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania's DIICOT anti-organised crime unit told Reuters. "The decision is final, the investigation continues."

Asked whether Friday's ruling will speed up the investigation, Bolla said prosecutors have until end-June to send the suspects to trial.

Under Romanian legislation, prosecutors have filed charges against the four suspects, but the case is still under investigation and has not gone to trial.

Prosecutors have said the Tate brothers recruited their alleged victims by seducing them and falsely claiming to want a relationship or marriage. The victims were then coerced to produce pornographic content for social media sites that generated large financial gain.

Tate, who has been based mainly in Romania since 2017, is an online influencer and self-described misogynist who has built up a following of millions of fans, particularly among young men drawn to his hyper-macho image.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie and Alan Charlish; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Giles Elgood)

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