Romanian authorities said they have seized goods and money worth about 3.6 million euros ($5.2 million Cdn) as part of a criminal inquiry into alleged human trafficking that led to the arrest of social media influencer and self-proclaimed misogynist Andrew Tate.
Romania’s National Agency for the Administration of Unavailable Assets said in a statement that it removed a total of 15 luxury cars, 14 designer watches and cash in several currencies.
About a half-dozen masked law enforcement officers and other officials descended on the compound Saturday to take away the goods. The fleet of automobiles included a blue Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari, a Porsche, a BMW, an Aston Martin and a Mercedes-Benz.
Tate, 36, a British-U.S. citizen who has 4.5 million followers on Twitter, was arrested on Dec. 29 in Bucharest along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women on charges of being part of an organized crime group, human trafficking and rape.
On Tuesday, all four lost an appeal after a court upheld a judge’s Dec. 30 move to extend their arrest from 24 hours to 30 days. A day later, Tate lost another appeal that challenged assets seized by prosecutors in the case so far.
Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, said it had seized 15 luxury vehicles in the case, and identified more than 10 properties and land owned by companies registered to the Tate brothers.
Human trafficking allegations
If prosecutors can prove they gained money through illicit activities including human trafficking, the assets could be used to cover the expenses of the investigation and compensation for victims, said Ramona Bolla, a DIICOT spokesperson.
DIICOT said it has identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by the members of the alleged crime group.
The agency said victims were lured by pretences of love, and later intimidated, kept under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into performing in pornography.
Andrew Tate, a former professional kickboxer who was a contestant on the U.K. reality show Big Brother, gained notoriety for misogynistic remarks and hate speech.
His remarks got him banned from all major social media platforms, although his Twitter account became active again in November after Elon Musk acquired the platform.
Tate, who holds U.S. and British nationality, has said women are partially responsible for being raped and that they belong to men.
After the assets were moved Saturday, a post appeared on Tate’s Twitter account, which read: “Anyone who believes I’m a human trafficker is genuinely a moron,” and that “anyone smart enough to understand the American System is unfair would be mind blown by the injustice of the Romanian System.”
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