Andrew Tate has arrived at a Romanian court with his brother in handcuffs as he tries to appeal for a second 30-day extension of his detention.
The former professional kickboxer and controversial online personality with nearly five million followers on Twitter is in custody on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking.
The British-American citizen arrived at Bucharest’s appeals court on Wednesday morning handcuffed to his brother Tristan, who is being held in custody in the same case along with two Romanian women.
The four initially detained in Bucharest in late December will overturn a judge’s decision to extend their detention by 30 days for a second time at the request of prosecutors.
They previously lost an appeal against a previous extension.
Tate, 36, her brother and two women are being investigated for “forming an organized criminal group, human trafficking and rape”. They are accused of forcing women into “forced labor … and indecent work” for “substantial financial gain”.
A document seen by The Associated Press explaining the Jan. 20 ruling said the judge took into account “the particular dangerousness of the defendants” and the ability to identify victims as “at increased risk, in pursuit of better life opportunities.”
If the court rejects their appeal on Wednesday, the four will remain in custody until February 27 as prosecutors continue to investigate the case.
Andrew Tate, who has reportedly been living in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing abusive views and hate speech. He has claimed that there is “zero evidence” against him in the case and has accused it of being a silent political attack.
‘My case is not criminal, but political. It is not about justice or fairness. It’s about attacking my influence in the world,” read a post that appeared on his Twitter account on Sunday.
An online petition launched in January to free the brothers has attracted nearly 100,000 signatures.
Following the arrest of Tates and the two women, Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT, said in a statement that it had identified six victims of “physical violence and mental coercion” in the human trafficking case. Exploitation by members of alleged crime groups.
The agency said victims were lured under the pretense of love, and subsequently threatened, monitored and subjected to other control strategies while being forced to engage in pornographic acts for substantial financial gain.
In early January, Romanian authorities descended on the compound near Bucharest where they towed a fleet of luxury cars that included a blue Rolls-Royce, Ferrari and Porsche. They reported seizing property worth an estimated $3.9 million.
Prosecutors said the assets would be used to cover the costs of the investigation and compensate victims if they could prove the money was made through illegal activities such as human trafficking.
Tate also unsuccessfully appealed the forfeiture of the property.