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Andrew Tate And Brother Moved To House Arrest

Media caption, Watch: The moment Andrew Tate and his brother released from custody

By Robert Plummer

BBC News

Controversial social media influencer Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan are to be moved from custody to house arrest with immediate effect, a Romanian judge has ruled.

The ruling by the Court of Appeal in Bucharest replaces the latest period of custody, which was to end on 29 April.

Two associates, Georgiana Naghel and Luana Radu, are also being released.

All four have been ordered to stay in the buildings where they live, unless they have judicial permission to leave.

A spokeswoman for the Tate brothers told the BBC the brothers were “ecstatic”.

The brothers have been detained since December and are being investigated on allegations of rape, people trafficking and forming an organised crime group. Both have denied wrongdoing.

Lawyers for Mr Tate have argued that keeping him in preventative custody is unnecessarily harsh, when other judicial options such as house arrest are available.

Leaked court documents, seen by the BBC, outlined testimony from alleged victims claiming to be forced to earn €10,000 (£8,800) a month on social media platforms, under the alleged threat of physical violence.

Court papers also described debts being used as “a form of psychological coercion”.

Since investigations began last April, six women have been identified by prosecutors as victims.

However, no charges have yet been brought against the brothers or the two Romanian associates who were arrested alongside them.

In 2016, Mr Tate, a British-American former kickboxer, was removed from British TV show Big Brother over a video which appeared to show him attacking a woman.

He went on to gain notoriety online, with Twitter banning him for saying women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted. He has since been reinstated.

Despite social media bans, he gained popularity, particularly among young men, by promoting what he presented as a hyper-masculine, ultra-luxurious lifestyle.