Controversial influencer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan have been charged in Romania over allegations of human trafficking and forming an organised crime group.
The Tate brothers are accused of tricking seven women into sexual exploitation on fake promises of a relationship or marriage – a technique authorities have labelled the “loverboy method”.
They are charged alongside two Romanian female suspects who are accused of being part of the alleged organised crime group.
It is alleged all four formed the group in 2021 to commit human trafficking in Romania and other countries – including the US and UK.
Alongside charges of human trafficking, Andrew Tate has also been charged with raping one of the victims, while his brother Tristan has been charged with instigating others to violence.
They deny the allegations.
A spokesperson for the Tate brothers described the decision to charge the pair as “undoubtedly predictable”.
“We embrace the opportunity it presents to demonstrate their innocence and vindicate their reputation,” the spokesperson said.
“Tate’s legal team are prepared to cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities, presenting all necessary evidence to exonerate the brothers and expose any misinterpretations or false accusations.”
The Tate brothers were first arrested in a property in Bucharest in December last year and held in custody until March – when they were released under house arrest.
On Tuesday, prosecutors agreed to send all four suspects to trial – though a date has not yet been set.
Under Romanian law, the case is now due to be sent to the court’s preliminary chamber, where a judge has 60 days to inspect the case files.
In a statement announcing the decision to move to trial, Romania’s Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism said authorities had seized Bitcoin, worth an estimated $385,000 (£301,000), from cryptocurrency wallets belonging to the Tates.
They also seized 15 buildings and areas of land, 15 luxury cars, 14 luxury watches, two ingots – blocks of usually precious metal – and a medal as part of their investigation.
British-American Andrew Tate, who has been based mainly in Romania since 2017, is an online influencer who has amassed millions of followers, particularly young men.
The former professional kickboxer and his sibling were taken into custody on 29 December – but were moved to house arrest after an appeal.
Tate is banned from Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for violating rules on “dangerous individuals” and breaching hate speech rules.
He was kicked off Twitter in 2017, but allowed back in November 2022.