BUCHAREST (Reuters) -Divisive internet personality Andrew Tate said on Wednesday there was no justice in Romania and that the case file against him in a criminal investigation for alleged human trafficking and rape was empty.
Tate, his brother Tristan and two Romanian female suspects have been in police custody since Dec. 29 pending an ongoing criminal investigation on charges of forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women, accusations they deny.
On Thursday, a Romanian court extended their detention until Feb. 27. Prosecutors have said the Tate brothers recruited their victims by seducing them and falsely claiming to want a relationship or marriage.
The victims were then taken to properties on the outskirts of the capital Bucharest and through physical violence and mental intimidation were sexually exploited by being forced to produce pornographic content for social media sites that generated large financial gain, prosecutors said.
They also said Andrew Tate, a former professional kickboxer who holds U.S. and British nationality, raped one of the victims in March last year, which he has denied.
“They know we have done nothing wrong,” Tate told reporters as he was brought in for further questioning by anti-organised crime prosecutors, the first comments to the media since his arrest. “This file is completely empty. Of course it’s unjust, there is no justice in Romania unfortunately.”
Asked whether he has hurt women, Tate said: “Of course not.”
Earlier this month, Romanian authorities said they had seized goods and money worth 18 million lei ($3.99 million), including luxury cars and properties as a part of the investigation.
“There is no evidence against me,” Tristan Tate told reporters on Wednesday. “The authorities are planning to steal my cars and steal my money. That is why I am in jail.”
Prosecutors have said the seizure was meant to prevent the assets being concealed.
The Tates “are confident in the defence, they are confident in the evidence in their favour, they have given a detailed statement, they have collaborated (with authorities),” their lawyer Eugen Vidineac told reporters after the questioning.
“We believe the defence is starting to take shape.”
Andrew Tate gained mainstream notoriety for misogynistic remarks that got him banned from all major social media platforms, although his Twitter account was reinstated in November after Elon Musk acquired the social media network.
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie and Octav Ganea; Editing by Nick Macfie and Daniel Wallis)