Influencer Andrew Tate briefly leaves house arrest for questioning

The Tate brothers leave custody
The Tate brothers leave custody Copyright Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Influencer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan have been questioned by Romanian prosecutors from the anti-organised crime directorate while having their electronic devices searched.

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Influencer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan have been questioned by Romanian prosecutors from the anti-organised crime directorate while having their electronic devices searched.

It's the first time the two brothers have left house arrest, where they were placed more than a week ago after being released from a three-month-long detention. 

Tate, a British-American former kickboxer with millions of online followers, along with his younger brother and two Romanian women, are under investigation for alleged human trafficking and rape.

Both the Tates appeared on Monday at the Bucharest offices of Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, as forensic searches were carried out, said Eugen Vidineac, a lawyer representing them.

The brothers’ attendance on Monday comes after they won an appeal on March 31 to be moved from police custody to house arrest, where they will remain until at least April 29. Prosecutors have already carried out several device searches since they were detained.

Brothers met by handful of supporters

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

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

Vidineac said 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."

Surge in new followers

Since his release from police detention, Andrew Tate's Twitter followers have rocketed by at least 500,000. A tweet that appeared on his account Sunday read: “The world makes a lot more sense once you understand that most people don't even want to be free.”

Tate, a professional kickboxer who has resided in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has repeatedly claimed 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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