Social media personality Andrew Tate was moved to house arrest late on Friday after a Romanian court overturned prosecutors’ request to keep him in police custody until late April.
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.
“We see the court decision as legal, thorough and correct,” Tate’s lawyer Eugen Vidineac told reporters. He said the brothers were forbidden from contacting witnesses and from leaving the house without approval from authorities. “We do not yet have the court’s motivation, we do not know whether there are other interdictions.”
“We’re going home,” Tristan Tate told reporters in Romanian outside the prison. His brother did not comment. More than twenty supporters were waiting for them outside the prison, chanting “Top G,” as Tate is known among his followers.
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.