SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 19 June 2024, Wednesday |

Andrew Tate prosecution files reveal graphic claims of coercion ahead of trial

Details of graphic evidence compiled by Romanian prosecutors, alleging that Andrew Tate coerced women into sexual acts, have been seen by the BBC.

Warning: This article contains language and details that some readers may find disturbing

The case file summary, containing hundreds of pages of testimony and transcripts, includes an allegation of sexual violence which is said to have left one woman with eye and breast injuries.

And in what prosecutors say are transcribed audio messages, Mr Tate’s brother Tristan appears to say that he will “slave these bitches”.

Both men are facing trial in Romania for human trafficking and forming an organised criminal group with two other defendants.

Andrew Tate is also facing a charge of rape.

They deny all the charges against them. Some of the messages may originally have been written or recorded in English, then translated into Romanian by prosecutors and re-translated back into English by the BBC.

The BBC cannot verify whether the messages have been accurately transcribed or whether they were sent by the defendants as claimed, because the original evidence is not included in the summary document.

The 300 pages of reported testimony and evidence seen by the BBC provide a rare glimpse inside the pre-trial prosecution case against Andrew Tate, whose controversial views and online influence have sparked warnings from teachers, police and rights groups.

Included in the summary is a reproduced text message in which Mr Tate appears to claim leadership of the adult content business that prosecutors say was a human trafficking ring.

Mental coercion

In June, Romania’s Organised Crime Unit formally charged the Tate brothers, along with two Romanian women, with human trafficking and forming an organised crime group.

Attending court for the indictment, Andrew Tate said they were “not the first affluent men to be unfairly attacked” and that he looked forward to being found innocent.

Earlier this summer, Romanian prosecutors said in a statement that the Tate brothers had recruited their alleged victims by misleading them about their romantic intentions, before transporting the women to a house on the outskirts of Bucharest – where they were sexually exploited by the group, and forced to produce pornographic content through physical violence and mental coercion.

The Tates’ lawyers are expected to challenge the prosecution evidence in a pre-trial hearing later this month, and some of the material referred to in the case file seen by the BBC could be ruled inadmissible.

Even if the material is found to be admissible, the defendants may challenge it during trial.

The defendants may dispute that they made these statements and contest their accuracy or context. They may also contest whether they meet the required legal standard for any offence being committed.

The file seen by the BBC includes testimony from what prosecutors say are several women who lived in a building near the Tates’ house on the outskirts of Bucharest. The women allege that income from their online pornographic content was controlled by the defendants, along with some accounts and passwords.

‘Slave these bitches’

Prosecutors say access to the money made on the OnlyFans site was controlled by Georgiana Naghel, one of the Tates’ two Romanian co-defendants.

She would pay the women in the OnlyFans videos sums of money each month without revealing the total income they had earned, prosecutors allege.

On content created for the TikTok platform, they say the defendants took 50% of the income – and sometimes more.

Witnesses also claim they were forced to produce specific content to a strict schedule, under the threat of verbal and physical abuse.

The case file refers to threats to “break your teeth” or “end up in the morgue” in transcribed text messages, said to be from Ms Naghel.

She is also facing a charge of physically assaulting one victim – which she denies.

Fines of about 10% were imposed by the defendants on the women performing online for even small infractions – such as staying too long on a break, crying while live online, or wiping their nose while live, one witness says.

This apparently resulted in one of the women owing about €4,000 (£3,412) in debts.

A lawyer for the two female defendants said they vehemently denied the allegations which were not supported by any evidence, and were waiting for the court to decide their innocence.

The prosecutors’ file also contains what is claimed to be transcriptions of audio messages from 2020 – in which Tristan Tate appears to say he doesn’t want the women on sites like PornHub and OnlyFans to have access to their accounts:

“I don’t want them to have the passwords, I don’t want them to have anything.”

And:

“I don’t want to tell them that they have OnlyFans, I want that money to be used by me and you, screw them…”

Another part of the transcript reads:

“Mainly I’m going to slave these bitches […] I’m going to make them work even more hours and hours and hours.. I work these bitches like slaves. […] SLAVE work. Minimum 10 or 12 hours a day.”

The Tate brothers, and some of the women working for them, previously told investigators that the allegations are the result of jealousy.

And two of the women, classed as victims by prosecutors, say they did not share their income with anyone. Both women have publicly emphasised their close personal ties to the men, and support for them.

Prosecutors will also seek to build up a picture of controlling behaviour and heavy restrictions – largely through witness testimony and messages which they claim were exchanged between the various parties.

This includes an alleged ban on newly arrived women leaving the house without permission, and needing to be accompanied by one of the Tates’ trusted associates.

They allege that after recruitment, women were placed under the supervision of the two female defendants, Ms Naghel and Luana Radu.

The prosecutors highlight alleged text exchanges between Tristan Tate and Ms Naghel about the management of the business.

But significantly, the files seen by the BBC contain a transcript of what is said to be a text message from one alleged victim to Andrew Tate last year, in which she asks if he’s “the one running the girl business/OnlyFans and TikTok”.

“Tristan and G are,” Andrew appears to respond.

“But I lead them.”

We asked the Tates for a response to these claims. A spokeswoman said in a statement that they vehemently denied the serious allegations against them. She accused the BBC of a lack of impartiality, saying there was “substantial evidence pointing to their innocence”, without giving any detail, or addressing the specific allegations raised.

‘I can’t do it without drinking’

In other transcribed messages that prosecutors say took place between this alleged victim and Andrew Tate over several weeks, Mr Tate appears to mix talk of love and marriage with what seem to be orders, threats, references to rape, or insults such as “bitch” or “whore”.

According to the file, the alleged victim appears to ask him not to use those terms.

In response to a demand for group sex, the file says, she tells Andrew Tate, “I will not have sex with girls. I’m not going to do this.” And then, “Baby, I gotta drink for this. I can’t do it without drinking.”

Mr Tate is alleged to have responded, “Don’t be boring […] I want to see that you submit to me […] Shut up you whore, you will do as I say.”

This is not the only allegation of abuse. The case file summary also contains detailed witness accounts of Mr Tate’s alleged violence towards women.

One alleged rape victim says that, during one incident, he told her to take off her clothes while keeping her shoes on, then “slapped her across the face”.

She says she was unable to reject Mr Tate because he would hold her head during sex, telling her he no longer wanted to receive negative messages from her, and threatening to get her pregnant and lock her in a house.

According to the prosecution case, the alleged victim “was crying and scared because she thought [Andrew Tate] was capable of anything”.

The two individuals were reportedly alone in the room at the time, the file says, but prosecutors are seeking to place this testimony in the context of the defendant’s reported wider behaviour and history.

Another woman told investigators that Andrew Tate’s violence during sex was his way of “venting frustration” when she didn’t do what he told her to do.

Silvia Tabusca – an expert in human trafficking cases – told the BBC that, in order to prove their case, prosecutors would need to show that the defendants misled their alleged victims about their motivation for the relationship. Even if the women themselves consented, she said, trafficking could still take place.

In a BBC interview earlier this year, Andrew Tate strongly denied exploiting or manipulating any women, saying that he had “never hurt anybody” and that the case against him was “completely and utterly fabricated”.

He has also said repeatedly that the media and others take selected comments of his out of context and put them together in a way that doesn’t reflect reality.

Rare cars, jewellery and property

The file also refers to financial transfers, including £4m allegedly transferred by Andrew Tate into an online bank account, under the heading “Rev Only Fans”. The BBC has not seen details of the source of that income.

In their report, prosecutors allege that the Tate brothers do not appear to have income “from lawful activities”, but that from 2018 onwards they acquired “numerous properties”, “15 of the rarest and most expensive cars”, estimated to be worth more than £3m, as well as jewellery and $400,000 in cryptocurrency.

Subscriptions to their online groups, the War Room and Hustler’s University, appear to bring the brothers around $5m a month in membership fees, prosecutors say.

Romania is preparing to try this case in the glare of an international spotlight. Its Organised Crime Unit confirmed in a statement earlier this year that it was continuing to investigate possible crimes of trafficking in minors and money-laundering connected to this case. As yet, no suspects have been formally identified.

The trial itself could take years to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors say Andrew Tate’s video explanations of how to recruit, control and exploit women match the evidence they present.

But supporters praise his discipline and financial success.

The online version of Andrew Tate has already divided the world into prosecution and defence. But in the legal process that’s about to begin in Bucharest, it’s his real-life actions on trial.

    Source:
  • BBC NEWS