Sex, lies and video cameras: Andrew Tate turned women into slaves, prosecutors say
BUCHAREST, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The Moldovan woman thought it was love. Internet celebrity Andrew Tate had offered her a new life. They had even discussed marriage. She only asked for one thing: absolute loyalty.
“You must understand that once you are mine, you are mine forever,” Tate told her on February 4 last year in one of dozens of WhatsApp messages cited by Romanian prosecutors who allege he trafficked and sexually exploited several women. .
Tate, an influencer with millions of followers online, urged the Moldovan woman to join him in Romania. “Nothing bad will happen,” she assured him on February 9. “But you have to be on my side.”
The following month, Romanian prosecutors say, Tate raped the woman twice in the country while seeking to enlist her in a human trafficking operation focused on making pornography for the OnlyFans online platform, a site that allows people to sell explicit videos. of themselves.
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The allegations and messages are included in an unpublished court document, dated December 30 and reviewed by Reuters, which presents the most detailed picture yet of the illicit business allegedly run by Tate, a former kickboxing world champion, and his brother Tristan.
They came to light after the brothers’ arrest on December 29 on charges of forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
British-American Andrew Tate, 36, who has resided mainly in Romania since 2017, and his 34-year-old brother have denied all the allegations against them. Reuters was unable to reach them in police custody for comment.
In response to questions, his lawyer Eugen Vidineac said he could not publicly confirm or deny information about the case while the investigation was ongoing. Romania’s anti-organized crime unit also said its prosecutors could not comment on the investigation.
Reuters translated the WhatsApp exchanges with the Moldovan women, who appear in Romanian in the court document, into English, their original language. While accurate, the translation of the Romanian version provided by prosecutors may not be identical to the initial wording.
The brothers used deception and intimidation to bring six women under their control and “transform them into slaves,” the prosecution said in the document. The 61-page file, produced by Bucharest judicial officials, comprises the minutes of a hearing in which a judge extended the Tates’ detention plus evidence presented by the prosecution.
Attorney Vidineac said the brothers’ alleged victims were not mistreated, but “lived off the famous Tates,” according to the court document. “They were happy and no one was forcing them to do these things,” he added.
Vidineac acknowledged in the document that Andrew Tate and the Moldovan woman had sex, but said it was consensual and accused her of fabricating the rape allegations.
Reuters was unable to independently corroborate the version of events provided by prosecutors or the defense attorney, and was unable to reach the six women named in the document for comment. The news organization does not typically identify alleged victims of sex crimes unless they have chosen to reveal their names.
Two of the women told Romanian television channel Antena3 on January 11 that they are not victims and that the Tates are innocent. The station identified them only by their first names, Beatrice and Iasmina.
“They can’t list me as a victim if I say I’m not,” Beatrice told the station. The other four women, including the Moldovan, have not commented publicly.
ONLYFANS: WE HAVE MONITORED TATE
The allegations Tate faces have focused intensely on a self-described misogynist who has built an online fan base, particularly among young men, by promoting a luxurious, hyper-macho image of driving fast cars and going out. with beautiful women
In 2022, he was the eighth most Googled person in the world, surpassed only by the likes of Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Vladimir Putin, according to Google analysis.
Prosecutors say Tates controlled the victims’ OnlyFans accounts and profits ran into the tens of thousands of euros, underscoring concerns among some human rights groups about the potential for exploitation of women on such platforms.
Reuters was unable to verify the existence of the alleged victims’ OnlyFans accounts.
UK-based OnlyFans has 150 million users who pay “creators” monthly fees of varying amounts for their content, much of it erotic or pornographic, but also in areas like fitness and music.
The company, whose 1.5 million creators can earn from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands a month, says on its website that it is “the most secure digital media platform.” It was founded in 2016 and grew rapidly during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Spokeswoman Sue Beeby told Reuters that Andrew Tate has “never had” a creator account or been paid. She said OnlyFans had been monitoring him since early 2022 and took “proactive steps” to prevent him from posting or monetizing content, without elaborating on the reasons for the scrutiny or the steps taken.
He added that creators as a whole underwent extensive identification checks and that all content was reviewed by the platform, which worked closely with law enforcement. Vidineac declined to comment on the action taken by OnlyFans against Tate.
HOW I MAKE WOMEN LOVE ME
Andrew Tate’s image has been fueled by a number of controversial comments. He compared women to dogs and said they bear some responsibility for being raped. His comments got him banned from Facebook, Instagram and other leading social media platforms last year.
A Meta spokesperson said Tate was banned in August 2022 from his Facebook and Instagram platforms for violating their policies, which prohibit “hate based on gender, any threat of sexual violence or threats to share non-consensual intimate images.”
Tate said in a podcast in 2021 that he had started a webcam business in Britain that peaked with 75 women working for him and earning $600,000 a month, a sum Reuters could not independently verify. He did not elaborate on the podcast about what the women did.
Until last month, her website offered a course costing more than $400 that promised to teach “every step to build a submissive, loyal, and in-love-with-you girl.”
“THAT IS MY SKILL. Making women fall in love with me extremely efficiently,” he said on the website. The pages about the course, reviewed by Reuters, were removed in January.
In a separate YouTube video aimed at men who want to make money putting women on OnlyFans, Tate called the platform “the biggest hustle in the world.” The original date of the video, which has been uploaded multiple times, is unclear.
In the court document, attorney Vidineac said Tate’s online persona was a “virtual persona” built to gain followers and make money, and that he “had nothing to do with the real man.”
Tate’s Twitter account, reinstated in November, a month after billionaire Elon Musk bought the platform, protests his innocence to his 4.8 million followers. “I’ve been arrested to ‘look for’ evidence… which they won’t find because it doesn’t exist,” read a January 15 post.
AMERICAN WOMAN ‘VERY SCARED’
Tate met the Moldovan woman virtually on Instagram in January 2022 before meeting in person in London the following month, and by March she was in Romania, prosecutors said in the court document, which includes WhatsApp exchanges between Feb. and on April 8. .
The authorities took action against the brothers on April 11, when police raided one of their properties in Bucharest on suspicion that an American woman was being held there against her will.
According to prosecutors, the American woman, another of the six alleged victims, met Tristan Tate online in November 2021 and then in person in Miami the following month. About her They said that he lured her to Romania by expressing “false feelings” for her and promising her a serious relationship, paid for her plane ticket and said that he could help her earn “100K a month” on OnlyFans.
Tristan Tate picked her up at the Bucharest airport in a Rolls-Royce on April 5, 2022, and drove her back to his home, which had two armed guards, according to the court document.
He told her that she was not a prisoner, but that the guards would not let her out without his permission, he added. He said it was dangerous for her to leave her “because she had enemies.”
There were cameras throughout the house, which Tristan Tate monitored remotely, prosecutors said in the document. He once sent a message to the American to say that he could see where he was and what he was doing, they said.
When she moved into another house with four of Andrew Tate’s “girlfriends,” she was allowed out, but only if she was accompanied by other women, prosecutors said, adding that she was “very afraid” of the brothers.
In the document, Tate’s lawyer said the American woman had a mobile phone, internet access and the freedom to leave the house whenever she wanted.
The woman has not spoken publicly about the Tates or the prosecutors’ allegations.
Romanian prosecutors said on January 15 that as part of their investigation into the suspects, they had seized nearly $4 million worth of assets, including a fleet of luxury cars from Andrew Tate’s compound on the outskirts of Bucharest.
‘SEXUAL EXPLOITATION CONTENT’
The Tates’ detention, along with two Romanian women accused of working for them, has been extended until February 27. His appeal against that detention was rejected by a court on Wednesday. A judge can order his detention for up to 180 days while the investigation is ongoing, which means it could last until the end of June.
The alleged accomplices, Georgiana Naghel and Luana Radu, controlled the OnlyFans and TikTok accounts of the six victims on behalf of Tates, siphoning off half of the proceeds and fining the women for being late or whining on camera, prosecutors said. .
The couple threatened to beat the women if they didn’t do their jobs, according to the court document.
Naghel and Radu have denied all the allegations against them. Vidineac, who also represents Naghel, and Radu’s attorney said they could not comment on the case.
Tates’ operation put women on TikTok to drive traffic to OnlyFans because of their lucrative subscriptions, prosecutors said. Reuters was unable to independently verify the existence of the TikTok accounts in question.
TikTok said in a statement that Andrew Tate was banned from its platform and had been cracking down on videos and accounts related to him that violated its ban against “sexually exploitative content.”
The company declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation from Romania.
Reporting by Luiza Ilie, Octav Ganea and Andrew RC Marshall. Edited by Jason Szep and Pravin Char
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