Influencer Andrew Tate stays in detention: Romania court

A Romanian court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by controversial influencer Andrew Tate against his 30-day detention while he is being investigated for alleged human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal group.

The former professional kickboxer, who is a British-US national, his younger brother and two Romanian women were arrested on December 29.

The next day, they were ordered to be detained for 30 days as prosecutors argued they might try to escape or otherwise evade investigation.

Dressed in black and handcuffed, Tate arrived early on Tuesday at the court with his brother Tristan for their hearing behind closed doors to appeal their detention.

But the court dismissed their appeal, ruling it "unfounded".

"They stay in detention," Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for Romania's anti-organised crime and terrorism directorate (DIICOT), told AFP.

Their lawyer Eugen Vidineac said earlier Tuesday that the defendants "were able to express themselves".

"It was a long day," he said at the end of the court hearing, which lasted several hours.

The Tate brothers and the two Romanians are under investigation for allegedly coercing women into "forced labour... and pornographic acts", which they intended to publish online for "substantial financial benefits".

Tate, 36, and his brother, 34, deny the charges, according to Vidineac.

"There is not a single piece of evidence to suggest that a crime of rape has been committed," Vidineac told local media this week.

Just days before Tate was arrested, he had a heated Twitter exchange with Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg which went viral and -- though unrelated -- fuelled speculation on social media that the arrest was linked to their exchanges.

DIICOT prosecutors have been investigating the suspects for several months and searched Tate's villa in April.

Romanian police raided five locations across the country in late December.

So far six potential victims have been identified.

Many of the men's assets, including their collection of luxury cars, were seized.

In 2016, Tate appeared on the "Big Brother" reality television show. But he was removed after a video emerged showing him attacking a woman.

He then turned to social media platforms to promote his divisive views, before being banned for misogynistic remarks and hate speech.

Tate was allowed back on Twitter after Elon Musk bought the company, and his handle "Cobratate" currently has 4.5 million followers.

Tate and his brother moved to Romania several years ago.

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