Andrew Tate wanted to turn women into slaves, Romanian prosecutors allege
Allegations included in a previously unpublished court document
The woman from Moldova thought it was love. Internet celebrity Andrew Tate had offered her a new life. They'd even discussed marriage. He asked for only one thing: absolute loyalty.
"You must understand that once you are mine, you will be mine forever," Tate told her on Feb. 4, 2022, in one of dozens of WhatsApp messages cited by Romanian prosecutors who allege he trafficked and sexually exploited several women.
Tate, an influencer with millions of online followers, urged the Moldovan woman to join him in Romania. "Nothing bad will happen," he reassured her on Feb. 9. "But you have to be on my side."
The following month, Romanian prosecutors say, Tate raped the woman twice in the country while seeking to enlist her in a human-trafficking operation focused on making pornography for the online platform OnlyFans, a site that allows people to sell explicit videos of themselves.
The allegations and messages are included in a previously unpublished court document, dated Dec. 30, 2022, and reviewed by Reuters, which paints the most detailed picture yet of the illicit business allegedly run by Tate, a former kickboxing world champion, and his brother, Tristan.
Arrested in December
They came to light following the arrest of the brothers on Dec. 29 on charges of forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
British American Andrew Tate, 36, who's been based mainly in Romania since 2017, and his 34-year-old brother have denied all the allegations against them. Reuters was unable to reach them in police detention for comment.
In response to questions, their attorney, Eugen Vidineac, said he couldn't publicly confirm or deny information about the case while the investigation was ongoing. Romania's anti-organized crime unit also said its prosecutors couldn't comment on the probe.
Reuters translated the WhatsApp exchanges with the Moldovan women — which appear in Romanian in the court document — back into English, their original language. While accurate, the translation of the Romanian version provided by prosecutors may not be identical to the initial wording.
The brothers used deception and intimidation to bring six women under their control and "transform them into slaves," prosecutors allege in the document. The 61-page file, produced by Bucharest court officials, comprises minutes of a hearing when a judge extended the Tates' detention plus evidence submitted by the prosecution.
Vidineac said the brothers' alleged victims weren't mistreated, but "lived off the backs of the famous Tates," according to the court document. "They were joyful and nobody was forcing them to do these things," he said.
Vidineac acknowledged in the document that Andrew Tate and the Moldovan woman had sex but he said it was consensual and accused her of fabricating the rape claims.
Reuters couldn't independently corroborate the version of events provided by prosecutors or the defence lawyer, and was unable to reach the six women named in the document for comment. The news organization does not typically identify alleged victims of sexual crimes unless they have chosen to release their names.
Two of the women told Romanian TV station Antena3 on Jan. 11 that they're not victims and the Tates are innocent. The station identified them only by first names, Beatrice and Iasmina.
"You cannot list me as a victim if I say I am not one," Beatrice told the station. The four other women, including the Moldovan woman, haven't publicly commented.
The allegations facing Tate have put intense focus on a self-described misogynist who has built an online fan base, particularly among young men, by promoting a lavish, hyper-macho image of driving fast cars and dating beautiful women.
In 2022, he was the world's eighth-most Googled person, outranked only by figures such as Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Vladimir Putin, according to Google's analysis.
Prosecutors say the Tates controlled the victims' OnlyFans' accounts and earnings amounting to tens of thousands of euros, underlining concerns among some human rights groups about the potential for the exploitation of women on such platforms.
Reuters couldn't verify the existence of the alleged victims' OnlyFans accounts.
U.K.-based OnlyFans has 150 million users who pay "creators" monthly fees of varying amounts for their content, much of it erotic or pornographic, but also in areas such as fitness training and music.
The company, whose 1.5 million creators can earn anything from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands a month, says on its website it's "the safest digital media platform." It was founded in 2016 and grew rapidly during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Spokesperson Sue Beeby told Reuters that Andrew Tate "has never had" a creator account or received payments. She said OnlyFans had been monitoring him since early 2022 and taken "proactive measures" to stop him posting or monetizing content, without elaborating on the reasons for the scrutiny or the steps taken. She also said that creators as a whole underwent extensive identification checks and that all content was reviewed by the platform, which worked closely with law enforcement.
Vidineac declined to comment about the measures taken by OnlyFans against Tate.