Romanian authorities said they seized nearly $4 million worth of assets belonging to controversial internet personality Andrew Tate last week as he and his brother are investigated on human trafficking and rape charges.
About 18 million lei, equivalent to $3,942,700, has been seized, the country’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ANABI) said in a press release on Saturday.
Among the 29 assets seized are motor vehicles, luxury watches and sums of money in various currencies, ANABI said.
The seizures were carried out on the orders of prosecutors from the Organized Crime and Terrorism Investigation Directorate, ANABI said.
A video published by Reuters on Saturday shows Romanian authorities confiscating several high-value vehicles, including a Rolls Royce, a BMW and a Mercedes Benz, at a site with a large “Tate” sign.
Andrew and his brother Tristan Tate were detained in Romania in December as prosecutors prosecuted for human trafficking and rape claims. Authorities in Romania said police issued search warrants in five homes and took four suspects into custody – two Britons and two Romanians – as part of the investigation.
Romania’s Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) said the four suspects had been detained for the first 24 hours. A court in Bucharest accepted a request from DIICOT to detain Tate and his brother Tristan for an additional 30 days, their lawyer Eugen Vidineac said on Dec. 30.
DIICOT alleged that the four suspects formed an organized crime group stretching from Romania to Britain and the United States, whose purpose is to commit human trafficking.
The agency said on Thursday that seven more properties had been searched as part of the investigation, bringing the total number of properties examined to 12.
Authorities allege that two of the suspects misled the victims “into believing they were planning to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship” while transporting the victims to Romania and later sexually exploiting them with physical force and coercion.
Authorities also said one of the suspects raped a victim on two separate occasions in March 2022. At least six victims were said to have been “sexually exploited by the organized crime group,” the DIICOT statement said.
A former professional kickboxer, Tate is known for his online viral tirades about male domination, female submission and wealth. He openly advocates violence against women and was previously banned from every major social media platform until Elon Musk restored his Twitter account after taking over the company.
He gained a lot of notoriety earlier this year, with many adults, including educators, raising the alarm about his misogynistic ideas taking root in the minds of countless young boys. Before it was taken down, his TikTok account was viewed about 11.6 billion times.
He made headlines the week of his arrest for a Twitter interaction with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who told Tate to seek a life after tweeting about his numerous cars “and their respective massive emissions.”
There was speculation online that authorities were made aware of Tate’s presence in Romania by the appearance of a particular pizza box in one of the photos he posted in his spat with Thunberg.
But according to Reuters, a DIICOT spokesperson said the pizza boxes played no role in the arrests.