Andrew Tate, the self-styled “king of toxic masculinity” who was arrested in Romania on allegations of running a human trafficking ring, is being investigated for two counts of rape, according to a court order obtained by The Washington Post, which also includes excerpts of extensive phone message conversations showing how Tate and his brother are alleged to have lured victims to Bucharest.
Romanian prosecutors have previously publicly stated the case involved accusations of rape but have declined to disclose further details or say which suspect was accused. A 67-page court ruling that ordered Tate, 36, and his brother Tristan, 34, into administrative detention in late December details the charges prosecutors are investigating against the brothers and two Romanian women accused of helping them run a human trafficking ring.
All four were arrested in December on suspicion of human trafficking and organizing a criminal enterprise and ordered held as the investigation continued. None have been formally charged but prosecutors have outlined the specific crimes that there is a “reasonable suspicion” each defendant has committed, according to the court ruling.
Their lawyers say the fact that they have not been charged shows a lack of evidence and argue their continued detention violates their human rights. In closed court sessions, Tate’s lawyers have said the sex was consensual, according to the court order. Tina Glandian, who has represented celebrities including Mike Tyson and Chris Brown and joined the Tates’ legal team this week, said that as the proceedings are closed she cannot comment on specific evidence but that the brothers deny all the allegations.
“It speaks volumes that they haven’t been charged yet despite the fact that there’s been an investigation for so long,” said Glandian. “They’ve searched their residences, seized their devices and here we are in February and their detention has been extended.”
Tate, a former champion kickboxer and American and British dual national, is being investigated for trafficking a Moldovan woman from London and allegedly raping her on two occasions in March last year, once at a hotel in Bucharest and another time at a property in the city, according to the court order, which was first reported on by Reuters.
Tate is accused of exerting “psychological and verbal pressure” to force the woman to have sex with him and two other women at the hotel, prosecutors said, according to the court order. The second alleged rape occurred 11 days later when Tate used “physical violence and psychological and verbal pressure” to force the woman into intercourse, according to the court order.
Extensive WhatsApp conversations between Tate and the woman in London and Tristan Tate and an American woman he is being investigated for trafficking from the United States are also included in the file as well as references to statements from the women to Romanian authorities. The messages were reproduced in the file in Romanian but have been translated into English by The Post and have not been independently verified.
Prosecutors have said the messages are evidence of the methods used by the brothers to “gain the trust of victims they manipulated” by posing as “affectionate, honest people,” according to the court order.
Tate, who has millions of online followers, met the Moldovan woman through Instagram in January last year, prosecutors alleged, according to the court order, and they began to speak romantically before meeting in February.
The conversation quickly turned to a move to Romania, according to the court order. “So I can keep an eye on you,” Tate wrote in a message on Feb. 7, the court order states.
The woman raised concerns about Tate’s work after seeing his online videos, according to prosecution statements in the court order. It’s unclear from the document exactly what videos are being referenced but the controversial social media influencer has spoken openly on YouTube videos about how he makes money from women doing live sexual performances online.
In the messages in the court order, Tate explained to the woman that he had used a webcam business to “launder money” and that he’d also started teaching men to start their own. “It’s all a cover,” he wrote, assuring her she could trust him. He told the victim that he’d meet her in Romania after taking care of some work in Prague and spoke about the prospect of marriage.
“I want to know that you are determined … serious about marriage,” Tate stated in one message, according to the court order.
“Yes. I am serious,” the woman replied.
After arriving in Romania, prosecutors say the victims were brought to a property where Tate produced internet pornography.
“I’m in the house,” the Moldovan woman messaged Tate, according to the court order. “I feel a bit strange … I wish you would tell it like it is so I know what’s going on … what do these girls do exactly?”
According to the court order, Tate replied that the women in the house work for “Only Fans” — an internet subscription service used extensively by sex workers.
“I mean, do they undress and stuff? Or something else,” the woman responded.
“No, just bikini,” Tate wrote. “And underwear.”
“I thought I would come here and live with you,” she wrote the next day. “It’s a little strange to have you put me with girls who work for you.”
Victims were coerced into producing internet pornography after effectively being turned into “slaves,” prosecutors argued, according to the court order.
In the messages reproduced in the court order, the woman tells Tate that she is being asked to make videos for TikTok.
“Just do it,” Tate responded, according to the court order. “It’s simple.”
The suspects took 50 percent of the online earnings of the women who worked for them, according to the testimony of one of the victims cited in the document who said women were subject to “fines” if they did not post exactly the content they were asked or if they cried during a live session or took too long on a break.
Tate and his co-accused said the women were free to leave or call the police. “Ask them for evidence and they will give you none,” Andrew Tate said as he was led out of court on Wednesday after an appeals court upheld a 30-day extension of his detention. “Because it doesn’t exist.”
In a video of an appearance on the “Fresh & Fit” podcast posted online in March last year, Tate called himself a “webcam kingpin.” He said that at one point he had 75 women working for his webcam “business” in four different locations, bringing in $600,000 a month.
Tate said in the podcast that he was forced move his webcam business to Romania from the United Kingdom after an armed police raid at his house. One woman — whom he said made him about $25,000 a month — had accused him of assault. He described flushing his phone down the toilet as police banged on the door but denied the assault.
Prosecutors say that money “obtained by the exploitation of the victims was used by the defendants to support themselves,” arguing that the women were essentially imprisoned in Romania in the brothers’ properties.
In a message reproduced in the court order, for instance, the Moldovan woman said she was thinking about going into town.
“NO,” Tate writes. “Going out alone … without telling me. Mall. Supermarket. NOWHERE. FROM NOW ON. It’s the last warning.”
The investigation against the brothers was triggered last year when the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest tipped off Romanian police that a 21-year-old American citizen was being held against her will in a property belonging to the Tates.
Constantin Ioan Gliga, a lawyer on the defense team, has said parts of messages disseminated to the public are “exaggerated and distorted interpretation of some harmless discussions in the private environment.”
Defense lawyers point out that two other Romanians described as “injured parties” in the case file have spoken out in favor of the Tates, saying they are not victims. The Post was unable to reach the other women named as victims.
Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, said she was confident the suspects would be charged.
The American victim met Tristan Tate on Reddit in 2021, according to the court order. Tristan Tate presented himself as “exactly what she wanted in a lover,” the prosecution argued — someone educated, creative and respectful. The two spent a week together when Tristan Tate was on a trip to Miami, and later “the idea of visits to Romania turned into the idea of moving,” the court order said.
One of Tristan’s “rules” for her in Romania was “you never talk to anyone unless I introduce you,” messages between the two show. “Romania is my world. No friends from the outside,” he wrote.
When the woman arrived in Romania, Tristan Tate told her that she wouldn’t be able to leave, and that if she managed to “he would make sure that she will return to Romania,” the court order said, citing her statement. If she asked the armed guards to leave, they told her they did not speak English, she said, according to the court order.
She said that she did not call the police because Tristan Tate “scared” her and told her that he had surveillance cameras everywhere in the house, according to the court order. He would text her when she went into the living room, she said, to show that he was watching her at all times.
Tristan Tate’s defense argued that he had a “fun week” with the woman in Miami but that he did not suggest she move to Romania.
“I really wanted to see Romania and you be the one to show it to me,” she wrote to Tristan Tate in April last year. But she also said what she didn’t want to do, according to the court order: “I can’t show my body on Only Fans — sorry. I want to keep it just for you.”