Andrew Tate will remain under arrest on human trafficking and organised crime charges, after a Romanian court upheld a judge’s decision to extend his arrest period.
Mr Tate, who has described himself as the “king of toxic masculinity” and is one of the most divisive figures on the internet, will remain in police custody for the full 30 days he was remanded to alongside his brother and two other suspects, pending a criminal investigation.
The former kickboxer was led into a court in Bucharest in handcuffs on Tuesday, along with his brother Tristan.
They had appealed against a judge's earlier decision to extend their arrest period from 24 hours to 30 days on charges of rape, human trafficking and being part of an organised crime group. They have denied any wrongdoing.
The judge said the extension was necessary because there was a risk that the brothers might try to flee Romania.
Mr Tate, 36, a former Big Brother contestant who has amassed more than four million followers on Twitter with provocative messages and misogynistic views, was initially detained on December 29 at his home in a suburb of Bucharest along with his brother, who is charged in the same case. Two Romanian women were also arrested and are in custody.
As he appeared in court, a lawyer for Mr Tate claimed he employs a persona on social media that doesn't reflect who he really is.
It was unfair to judge Mr Tate by the persona he presents on social media, which was different to “what the man is like in real life”, said Eugen Vidineac, his lawyer.
The character he portrayed online should not be used “as evidence in a criminal trial”, Mr Vidineac told Gandul, a Romanian newspaper.
“We live in a reality of 2023 in which various people promote themselves, as characters, on social media, promoting an image, a product, an idea.”
The lawyer claimed that Romanian police had no proof to back up allegations of rape against the former kickboxer apart from the statement of the alleged victim, a woman from Moldova.
“There is, at the moment, not a single piece of evidence, apart from the victim's statement, that would lead to the idea that any crime of rape was committed,” the lawyer said.
He insisted there was no evidence, either, to support accusations of human trafficking and organised crime against the brothers.
Due process had not been followed and because of language difficulties the brothers initially did not understand what they were accused of, he said.
After they were arrested last month, Romania's anti-organised crime agency DIICOT said it had identified six victims who had been subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion”.
The women were allegedly intimidated into performing pornographic acts on social media.
Prosecutors investigating the case have so far seized a total of 15 luxury cars, at least seven of which are owned by the Tate brothers, as well as more than 10 properties or land owned by companies registered to them.
As the court upheld the arrest warrant extension on Tuesday, prosecutors could request detention for a maximum of 180 days.
Mr Tate, who was raised in Luton and is reported to have lived in Romania since 2017, has previously been banned from various social media platforms, including TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.
He was banned from Twitter in 2017 for his misogynistic opinions, but was recently reinstated following Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform in October.
In a cryptic tweet posted on Monday, Mr Tate wrote: “The Matrix has attacked me. But they misunderstand, you cannot kill an idea. Hard to Kill.”
Mr Tate has said that women are partially responsible for being raped and that they belong to men.
The Tate brothers have been under investigation since April. They have denied the allegations.
A spokesman for the pair said: “Andrew and Tristan Tate have the utmost respect for the Romanian authorities and will always assist and help in any way they can.”