By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
Andrew Tate, the controversial former kickboxer turned social media influencer, and his brother Tristan will be moved out of jail and placed under house arrest in Romania, amid an ongoing criminal probe into allegations of organized crime, human trafficking and rape.
The move was ordered by a Romanian court on Friday, CNN affiliate Antena 3 and agencies reported.
The Tate brothers — who deny the allegations — were detained in the country in December 2022, but have not yet been formally charged.
Romanian police alleged last year that the brothers and others had formed an organized criminal group that stretched from Romania to Britain and the United States for the purpose of human trafficking, Antena 3 reported at the time.
Authorities alleged that some victims were misled “into believing that they intended to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship” while being transported into Romania and were later sexually exploited with physical violence and coercion, according to Antena 3.
At least six victims were allegedly “sexually exploited by the organized criminal group,” according to a statement by Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).
Authorities also allege that one of the suspects raped a victim on two separate occasions in March 2022.
The brothers have insisted on their innocence.
“There’s no evidence in my file because I’ve done nothing wrong. Everybody knows I’m innocent, ” Andrew Tate said in January, after being taken for questioning, Antena 3 reported.
As he was led into DIICOT headquarters, he added: “There is no justice in Romania.”
Ioan Gliga, one of the Tate brothers’ lawyers, told reporters at the time: “We are convinced that the evidence is in favor of our clients, categorically not against them.”
Romanian police have searched 12 properties as part of their investigation, DIICOT said in mid-January. Romanian authorities have also seized roughly 18 million lei ($3,942,700) worth of assets belonging to Andrew Tate, including motor vehicles, luxury watches and sums of money in several different currencies, according to the country’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency.
Andrew Tate is known for his viral rants online about male dominance, female submission and wealth. He openly advocates violence against women, and had previously been banned from every major social media platform until Elon Musk reinstated his Twitter account after taking over the company.
He rose in prominence earlier this year, with many adults including school teachers voicing alarm about his misogynistic ideas taking root in the minds of countless young boys. Before it was taken down, his TikTok account racked up about 11.6 billion views.
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CNN’s Amy Croffey and Sharon Braithwaite contributed to this report.