- Prosecutors submit wiretapping of Tate phone calls to court
- Tate asks colleagues to enlist legislators’ help – wiretapping
- Internet celebrities deny rape and human trafficking
BUCHAREST, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Andrew Tate has sought to fight rape and human-trafficking charges while in police custody, ordering colleagues to recruit two right-wing lawmakers to his case, according to wiretapping of his phone calls sent to a court by Romanian prosecutors.
The internet celebrity instructed two associates to tell Romanian politicians, George Simion and Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca, that he was being targeted and supporting him would be “very good for their careers”, according to one of the exchanges.
“So make it clear to them: You’re going to get a lot of votes when Tate says you took their side,” the former kickboxer said in the Jan. 28 call to two of his associates.
Transcripts of the wiretapped conversations are included in a previously unpublished court document, dated February 21, compiled by Bucharest courts and reviewed by Reuters.
Simion, a politician in Romania’s lower house, told Reuters he had never been approached by Tate or his associates and would not publicly endorse Tate if asked.
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When asked if he thought Tate had been hit, he replied: “The justice system will decide, not the politicians.”
A spokesman for Iovanovici-Sosoaca, a senator, said the wiretapped calls were “lies” designed to attack her.
The wiretapped calls were made between Jan. 28 and Jan. 31, according to prosecutors, about a month after Tate, 36, was taken into custody along with his 34-year-old brother Tristan on suspicion of rape, human trafficking and forming an organized crime group. .
The brothers have denied all the charges. Reuters was unable to reach them in police custody for comment.
Tates’ lawyer Eugen Vidineac and a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office were contacted about the wiretapping, and both declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Reuters could not independently confirm the identities of the people in the wiretapped conversations, or determine whether any lobbying of politicians took place. The news organization translated the exchanges — which appear in Romanian in the court document — back into English, the language used by Tate, meaning that while accurate, they may not match his original wording.
British-American Tate, who has been based mainly in Romania since 2017, is an online influencer and self-described misogynist who has built a following of millions of fans, especially among young men drawn to his hyper-macho image.
The wiretapped conversations provide a window into his multifaceted efforts to defend himself while in custody, efforts that extend beyond the courtroom and into the realms of politics and social media.
Also in the Jan. 28 conversation, described in the court document, Tate asks his colleague Luke to release “party clips” on social media that he said show at least one of his alleged trafficking victims dancing in Bucharest.
“Yeah, put them everywhere and say, ‘This girl says she’s kidnapped when she’s not,'” says Tate.
“You say you want me to discredit them, get social media to pull the trigger, yes?” Luke asks.
“Yeah, screw them,” Tate replies.
The court document records the minutes of a court hearing in Bucharest on February 21, when a judge extended the Tates’ detention until the end of March, as well as evidence presented by prosecutors, who allege the brothers ran a human trafficking operation focused on creating online pornography.
Alexandru Risnita, another attorney for the Tates, rejected suggestions that the brothers were a flight risk if released from custody pending the investigation, the minutes show. He said it would be very difficult for his clients to travel unnoticed because they were “the most famous people on the planet at the moment”.
Reporting by Luiza Ilie, Octav Ganea and Andrew RC Marshall; Editing by Jason Szep and Pravin Char
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