British-American influencer Andrew Tate and three suspected accomplices have been released from prison after three months in custody in Bucharest. Instead, the four, who are accused of sexually exploiting young women, have been placed under house arrest. That was decided by the Bucharest Court of Appeal on Friday evening. The four left the prison to the applause of many fans in front of the goal, as the TV station Digi24 showed live.

The house arrest should apply for 30 days. After that, at the request of the public prosecutor’s office, the court should again decide whether the house arrest should be extended, whether a new detention should be imposed or whether the four should be set free. On Friday, the court of appeal decided on an application by the four to end pre-trial detention, which a lower court had extended until the end of April.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the purpose of the detention was to prevent Tate from influencing witnesses. However, the risk of absconding is now low because the house arrest also means that the person concerned has to hand in their ID to the police and that the border guards are alerted, experts say. Romania’s borders are controlled because the country is not part of the Schengen area.

The four suspects were arrested on December 30, 2022 in the Bucharest suburb of Voluntari. Prosecutors allege that Andrew Tate, his brother Tristan Tate and two Romanian women formed an organized crime group to sexually exploit women. They are said to have forced young women to take part in commercially distributed sex videos.

To do this, they are said to have used the so-called loverboy method: they used manipulation techniques to make the girls dependent on them. Some of the victims are said to have threatened and blackmailed them. One of the Tate brothers’ two alleged Romanian accomplices was a former police officer. So far, six victims have been identified. The Tate brothers deny the allegations.

Upon their arrest, investigators discovered guns and large amounts of cash in the Tate brothers’ mansion, including a gorilla figurine made out of US dollar bills. Ten properties and 15 luxury cars owned by the Tates in Romania were later confiscated. From the arrest in Bucharest, Andrew Tate complained about the prison conditions: “Croaches, lice and bedbugs are my only friends at night,” he said.

Andrew Tate rose to fame in 2016 when he was kicked out of Britain’s Big Brother show after leaking a video of him hitting a woman with a belt.