BUCHAREST, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The Moldovan woman thought it was love. Internet celebrity Andrew Tate offered her a new life. They even discussed marriage. He asked for only one thing: absolute loyalty.
“You have to understand that once you’re mine, you’re mine forever,” Tate said 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 online followers, urged the Moldovan to join him in Romania. “Nothing bad will happen,” he reassured her on February 9. “But you have to be on my side.”
The following month, according to Romanian prosecutors, Tate raped the woman twice in the country while trying to lure her into a human trafficking operation focused on making pornography for the online platform OnlyFans, a site that allows people to sell explicit videos of themselves you are
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The allegations and messages are contained in a previously unpublished court document dated December 30 and reviewed by Reuters that paints the most detailed picture yet of the illegal business allegedly run by Tate, a former world kickboxing champion, and brother his Tristan.
They came to light after the brothers were arrested on December 29 on charges of forming a criminal group to sexually exploit women.
British-American Andrew Tate, 36, who has lived mainly in Romania since 2017, and his 34-year-old brother have denied all charges against them. Reuters was unable to reach them at police custody for comment.
In response to questions, their lawyer Eugene Vidinyak said he could not publicly confirm or deny information on the case while the investigation was ongoing. Romania’s anti-organized crime department also said prosecutors could not comment on the investigation.
Reuters translated the WhatsApp exchange with the Moldovan women – which appears in Romanian in the court document – back into English, their original language. Although accurate, the translation of the Romanian version provided by prosecutors may not be identical to the original wording.
The brothers used deception and intimidation to bring six women under their control and “turn them into slaves,” prosecutors said in the filing. The 61-page file, submitted by court officials in Bucharest, includes transcripts of a hearing when a judge extended Tates’ detention, plus evidence presented by the prosecution.
Attorney Vidineac said the brothers’ alleged victims were not abused but “lived off the back of the famous Tates,” according to the court document. “They were joyful and no one was forcing them to do these things,” he added.
Vidineac admitted in the document that Andrew Tate and the Moldovan had sex, but he said it was consensual and accused her of fabricating the rape allegations.
Reuters could not independently confirm the version of events provided by prosecutors or defense counsel, and was unable to reach the six women named in the document for comment. The news organization typically does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes unless they choose to publish their names.
Two of the women told Romanian television station Antena3 on January 11 that they were not victims and Tate was innocent. The station identified them only by their first names, Beatrice and Yasmina.
“You can’t make me out as a victim if I say I’m not,” Beatrice told the station. The four other women, including the Moldovan, have not commented publicly.
ONLYFANS: WATCHING TATE
The charges facing Tate put an intense focus on a self-described misogynist who has built an online fanbase, particularly among young men, by promoting a flamboyant, hyper-macho image of driving fast cars and dating beautiful women.
In 2022, he was the eighth most Googled person in the world, behind only the likes of Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Vladimir Putin, according to Google’s analysis.
Prosecutors allege that the Tates controlled the victims’ OnlyFans accounts and their profits amounting to tens of thousands of euros, underscoring concerns among some rights groups about the potential for exploitation of women on such platforms.
Reuters could not confirm the existence of the alleged victims’ OnlyFans accounts.
UK-based OnlyFans has 150 million users who pay “creators” monthly fees of various amounts for their content, much of which is erotic or pornographic, but also in areas such as fitness training and music.
The company, whose 1.5 million creators can earn anything from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands per month, says on its website that it is “the safest digital media platform.” It was founded in 2016 and grew rapidly during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Spokeswoman Sue Beebe told Reuters that Andrew Tate has “never had” a creator account or received payments. She said OnlyFans had been monitoring him since early 2022 and had taken “proactive measures” to stop him from posting or monetizing content, without elaborating on the reasons for the review or the steps taken.
She added that creators were generally subject to extensive ID checks and that all content was reviewed by the platform, which works closely with law enforcement. Vidineac declined to comment on the action taken by OnlyFans against Tate.
HOW I GET WOMEN TO LOVE ME
Andrew Tate’s image has been boosted by a series of controversial comments. He compares women to dogs and says they bear some responsibility for being raped. His remarks got him banned from Facebook, Instagram and other leading social media platforms last year.
A spokesperson for Meta said Tate was banned in August 2022 from its Facebook and Instagram platforms for violating its policies, which prohibit “gender-based hate, any threats of sexual violence, or threats to share intimate images without consent “.
Tate said in a podcast in 2021 that he started a webcam business in Britain that peaked with 75 women working for him, earning $600,000 a month – a figure Reuters could not independently verify. He did not elaborate on the podcast about what the women did.
Until last month, his website offered a course costing more than $400 that promised to teach “every step to building a girl who is submissive, loyal and in love with you.”
“THIS IS MY SKILL. Extremely effective at making women fall in love with me,” he told the website. The course pages reviewed by Reuters were removed in January.
In a separate YouTube video aimed at men who want to make money by matching women to OnlyFans, Tate called the platform “the biggest hustle in the world.” The original date of the video, which has been uploaded several times, is unclear.
In the court document, attorney Vidineac said Tate’s online persona was a “virtual character” created to gain followers and make money and had “nothing to do with the real man.”
Tate’s Twitter account, reinstated in November, a month after billionaire Elon Musk bought the platform, protested his innocence to his 4.8 million followers. “They arrested me to ‘look’ for evidence … that they won’t find because it doesn’t exist,” a Jan. 15 post said.
AMERICAN WOMAN “VERY SCARY”
Tate first met the Moldovan virtually on Instagram in January 2022 before they met 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 February 4 and April 8.
Authorities intervened 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 – another of the six alleged victims – met Tristan Tate online in November 2021, then in person in Miami the following month. They said he lured her to Romania by expressing “fake feelings” for her and promising a serious relationship, paid for her plane ticket and said he could help her earn “100k a month” on OnlyFans .
Tristan Tate picked her up at Bucharest airport in a Rolls-Royce on April 5, 2022, and took her back to his house, where he had two armed guards, the court document said.
He told her he was not a prisoner but said the guards would not let her out without his permission, it added. He said it was dangerous for her to leave “because he has enemies”.
There were cameras throughout the house that Tristan Tate monitored remotely, prosecutors said in the filing. He once texted the American to say 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 to go 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 had a mobile phone, internet access and the freedom to leave the house whenever she wanted.
The woman has not spoken publicly about Tate or prosecutors’ allegations.
Romanian prosecutors said on January 15 that as part of their investigation into the suspects, they had seized assets worth almost $4 million, including a fleet of luxury cars, from Andrew Tate’s compound on the outskirts of Bucharest.
“SEXUALLY EXPLOITATIVE CONTENT”
The detention of Tate, along with two Romanian women accused of working for them, was extended until February 27. Their appeal against that detention was rejected by the court on Wednesday. A judge could order them detained for up to 180 days while the investigation is ongoing, meaning it could stretch until the end of June.
The alleged accomplices, Georgiana Nagel and Luana Radu, controlled the six victims’ OnlyFans and TikTok accounts on behalf of the Tate family, pocketing half of the revenue and fining women for being late or sniffing on camera, prosecutors said.
The two threatened to beat the women if they didn’t do their job, according to the court document.
Nagel and Radu have denied all allegations against them. Vidineac, who also represents Naghel, and Radu’s lawyer said they could not comment on the case.
Tates’ operation placed women on TikTok to drive traffic to OnlyFans for the lucrative subscriptions, prosecutors said. Reuters could not independently verify the existence of the TikTok accounts in question.
TikTok said in a statement that Andrew Tate had been banned from its platform and that it had taken action against videos and accounts linked to him that violated its ban against “sexually exploitative content.”
The company declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation in Romania.
Reporting by Louise Illier, Octave Ganea and Andrew RK Marshall. Editing by Jason Schepp and Pravin Char
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