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American-British online influencer charged with rape, human trafficking is in İstanbul

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A social media post shared from the account of Andrew Tate, a controversial former kickboxer-turned-social media influencer with over 8 million followers, has confirmed his presence in İstanbul.

A tweet from the influencer, who is known for projecting a luxury lifestyle and expressing misogynistic views on social media, received over 12 million views in less than a day.

The photo shows Tate and a view of the Bosporus as well as Turkish football club Beşiktaş’s stadium in the Beşiktaş district of İstanbul, adorned with with a Turkish flag. Many of his followers guessed that he was at the city’s Ritz Carlton hotel.

Tate, his brother Tristan and two Romanian women, who are charged with human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women, were initially arrested in Romania as part of an organized crime investigation on December 29, 2022. They spent several months in jail before being released and placed under house arrest at the end of March last year.

After five months of house arrest, the Tate brothers were released under judicial control in August. They were restricted to the Bucharest municipality and nearby Ilfov county.

The Guardian reported in late January that the Bucharest court of appeals upheld a ruling by another court that extended by 60 days the geographical restrictions against Tate, stipulating that he cannot leave the country.

Romanian police initially alleged that the group coerced victims into creating paid pornography in a criminal operation to financially benefit the four accused persons. 

Romanian prosecutors formally indicted all four in June of last year; they have denied the allegations.

In the 300-page indictment, Romanian prosecutors claimed that Andrew Tate transferred a total of 4 million pounds to an online bank account.

They said the Tate brothers had acquired “numerous properties” and “15 very rare and expensive cars” worth £3 million in total as of 2018, in addition to cryptocurrencies worth $400,000,  despite not earning any money from legitimate businesses, according to Turkish media reports.

According to the testimony of seven people who stated that they were victims in the indictment, the criminal organization for human trafficking was established in 2021 and operated in Romania, the US and the UK.

Tate came to Turkey at a time when the country’s interior ministry has been cracking down on international criminals, arresting or extraditing dozens of them since the beginning of the year.

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