Andrew Tate Partnered in Casinos with Alleged Romanian Organized Crime Figures

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Outspoken misogynist and social media sensation Andrew Tate made many bombastic claims before his December 2022 arrest in Romania on human trafficking and rape charges.

One of the most striking was that he was working with unnamed Romanian gambling kingpins to operate casinos in the Eastern European country, where Tate has chosen to base himself because, he has said, it’s a place where “corruption is accessible to everybody.”

In multiple interviews, Tate claimed to have partnered up with some “brothers, mafia guys,” who owned “400 [gambling] locations from Estonia all the way down to the East of Europe,” and to have helped his new partners push competitors out of business.

But there was no evidence the self-styled “king of masculinity” actually had interests in any casinos – much less 400 – and Tate never publicly revealed the names of his business partners.

Now, reporters from RISE Project Romania, an OCCRP member center, have found evidence that Andrew Tate and his younger brother, Tristan, really did have a financial interest in at least six “Las Vegas” brand casinos along with two alleged organized crime figures known as the Doroftei brothers.

The Tates are currently under investigation for alleged rape, along with forming a criminal organization in order to recruit and force women to produce pornography. Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for the country’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), told OCCRP that their casino interests are not currently being scrutinized.

“So far we are not investigating regarding their activities in the gambling industry in Romania,” she said in a phone interview.

Lawyers for the Tate brothers did not respond to requests for comment. Tristan Tate told reporters via WhatsApp that he had no comment on the casino business.

Andrew Tate leaves the Bucharest Court investigations/andrew-tate-leaves-court.jpg

Joint-venture contracts obtained by reporters show that profits from at least six branches of Las Vegas Casinos were shared between Talisman Enterprises, a Romanian company controlled by the Tate brothers, and a company owned by the Doroftei brothers called DMS Bet Live SRL, which was licensed in Romania to operate fixed-odds betting. (Talisman didn’t have a license, and would not have been able to operate casinos on its own.)

Las Vegas is one of the biggest casino chains in Romania, with over 800 venues across the country. The chain is run through a complex group of companies that all appear to play different roles in its operations — from paying rents to operating slot machines — including DMS Bet Live. On top of this, the different Las Vegas branches are also run through joint ventures with other unrelated companies, like Talisman.

In its joint venture with the Tates, DMS agreed to provide betting terminals, while Talisman would provide the commercial space for the casinos. In three of the six gambling venues, Talisman also had to provide employees and “cash-machine” equipment. The agreements prohibited the Tates from doing business with any competitors to the Las Vegas casinos.

Reporters were not able to obtain information on how the arrangement worked in practice. The Las Vegas Casino Group confirmed it did have a business relationship with the Tates, but said that the relationship had been terminated.

One of the Las Vegas branches the two companies partnered on is in Berceni, a neighborhood of communist-era apartment blocks on the outskirts of the Romanian capital of Bucharest. Painted bright red, the street-level casino stands out against the hulking, gray concrete building above.

The Las Vegas casino owes little to its glitzy American namesake. There are no poker tables staffed by smart-suited dealers, just dark rooms with rows of slot machines where workers and retirees gamble away their minimum-wage salaries or state pensions.

“I’m a gambling addict who already lost two apartments,” admitted one local who spoke to reporters outside another one of the Las Vegas casino branches, this one in the Vitan neighborhood of Bucharest.

DMS appears to stand for Doroftei and the brothers’ first names, Mihăiță and Sorin. Several members of what they call their “family” have “DMS” tattooed on their bodies, according to videos reporters found on social media. One man with the DMS tattoo – who also had “NEVER PLEAD GUILTY” inked on his right hand – checked in on Facebook at a Tate casino, adding the status “at work.”

investigations/example-dms-tattoo.jpg

In a podcast interview, Andrew Tate explained how he first hooked up with his business partners, although he did not name them.

A former kickboxing competitor, Tate was commentating on a live cage fight sponsored by DMS, which began with local fighters before expanding to include international mixed martial arts stars. The Doroftei brothers had founded a mixed martial arts brand called Real Xtreme Fighting, (RXF). Tate said he approached one of the casino owners at the RXF show and made him an offer.

“I will open up directly next door to your number one competitor,” Tate said he told his prospective partner.

“So I’ll go to war for you with my money, right next door to your number one competitor. Even if it doesn’t make any money you’re getting paid off the turnover. It’s gonna take some money from your competitor. I am taking all the risk.”

“And he agreed,” Tate said.

Reporters could not confirm whether that incident occurred as Tate described it. But Bolla, the spokesperson for DIICOT, said the Dorofteis “encountered the Tate brothers during a competition, maybe, and they were in connection with the brothers.”

By the time that meeting with the Tates happened, the Dorofteis had managed to recruit organized crime groups to take over sections of the gambling industry throughout Romania, according to Bolla.

“They had an entire network of gambling places where they controlled what happened,” she said.

Many organized crime figures in Romania live the fast life and show off their bling on social media, but the Doroftei brothers keep a low profile and are relatively unknown to the public — and, until recently, the anti-organized crime authorities.

They were unknown to DIICOT even in 2019, when Romanian police wiretapped a local cocaine smuggler who was also working for the Las Vegas casinos. The man was overheard discussing a powerful figure he did not name directly, but referred to as a “Pole.” (Mihăiță Doroftei has Polish citizenship.)

“He’s opening everywhere in Romania. He’s taking over all the casinos all by himself,” said the wiretapped smuggler.

Anti-organized crime prosecutors later began investigating the group behind the Las Vegas casinos, and linked it with what the smuggler had said.

The investigation culminated in November 2022 police raids on 123 locations linked to Las Vegas casinos, which brought in dozens of alleged gang members for questioning. Many of these people had prior convictions for serious crimes, including human trafficking, drug smuggling, blackmail, weapons smuggling, and attempted murder. During the raids, police confiscated bags of cocaine, as well as 500,000 euros in cash, and weapons including a gun and two crossbows.

Law enforcement officials said the Dorofteis had managed to bring together rival mafia clans – some of which had fought each other on the streets with swords and even torched a house with a homemade bomb — in a group that cooperated to crush competing casinos.

“We see something that we have not encountered in the past — the leaders of the [organized crime] groups have forgotten their pride in order to share their spheres of influence, and benefits,” Cosmin Andreica, head of the Romanian branch of Europol, told Romanian television at the time of the raids.

Bolla, the DIICOT spokeswoman, told OCCRP that the Dorofteis had managed to convince criminal groups around the country to work with them by appealing to their “common interest – gaining money.”

“They are the kind of people who can gain access to these organized crime [figures], and they can influence them in working for a common goal, that’s getting money,” she said.

In November, prosecutors said they had arrested 28 people in relation to alleged organized criminal activity, blackmail, violent acts, and kidnapping. The investigation is ongoing, and the accused people have not yet been indicted.

An arrest warrant was issued for Mihăiță Doroftei, but Romanian authorities have not been able to arrest him. He told OCCRP through his lawyer that he is in Poland, where he has been a citizen for a decade. He denied that he is on the run from Romanian law enforcement, and said he simply lives in Poland with his wife and two children.

“The claim that he has evaded prosecution is slightly forced,” his lawyer, Alexandru Șerban, said in an email.

Mihăiță’s brother, Sorin, was in Romania when the police raids happened, and he was initially put under judicial oversight, meaning that he couldn’t leave the country, had to report regularly to authorities, and was barred from communicating with people charged in the case. After an appeal, a court ruled on May 23 that Sorin was allowed to leave Romania – which his lawyer said was evidence of his innocence – although the other restrictions remain in place.

The lawyer, Codruț-Nicolae Savu, said accusations made against his client in media reports were false, adding that prosecutors have yet to provide proof of their allegations.

“After a period of approximately 6 months during which the prosecution has carried out investigative acts, no evidence has been obtained to confirm the information received and revealed by the press, which probably was misled by specific sources,” Savu said in an email.

Some accused members of the gang allegedly headed by the Dorofteis were hired by Las Vegas as maintenance staff, according to prosecutors. In reality, the workers were there to make sure the Dorofteis got their share of the profits. This included assaulting gamblers, and stealing their winnings.

The crime group allegedly used violence to “to prevent the expansion of gambling halls competing with those they operated,” according to a DIICOT statement.

A lawyer for the Las Vegas Group denied any wrongdoing.

Sex Trafficking and Real Estate

The raids on the Las Vegas casinos came just a month before police arrested Andrew Tate and his brother, Tristan, who are dual citizens of the U.S. and U.K. but spend large amounts of time in Romania.

Like the Dorofteis, the Tate brothers have been charged by prosecutors, who are continuing to investigate their case before deciding whether to indict them. Tristan Tate said he was innocent of the accusations.

“I do not commit crimes and I treat all people I meet (men women kids) with respect,” he said in a text message. Andrew Tate could not be reached, but has also denied the charges.

The trafficking charges against them have been widely reported. But RISE and OCCRP have learned that prosecutors are also investigating whether the Tates laundered money earned in sex trafficking through Romanian real estate, though documents seen by reporters don’t expose the amounts earned or the schemes involved.

“We are also investigating money laundering, but we are not charging them with money laundering, because we still need to gain more evidence,” said Bolla.

Andrew Tate has publicly claimed to make $300,000 to $600,000 per month from coercing women to perform sexual acts on the internet. Speaking on his online Hustlers University platform – which offered courses on how to make quick cash, as well as a “Pimping Hoes Degree” (PHD) – Tate explained that forcing women to work 12-plus hour shifts was integral to success.

Tate bragged about having 75 women performing sexual acts on webcams, and said he kept 80 percent of the proceeds for himself. “They basically work for free. They worked for my love and attention,” he said.

According to Romanian prosecutors, the Tate brothers’ tactics amounted to human trafficking. Prosecution documents included testimonies from victims, who describe being lured by the brothers with promises of a romantic relationship, then abused, threatened, and forced to perform.

One Moldovan woman said Andrew Tate “told me to take my clothes off, to keep my shoes on, then he slapped me across the face.” She told prosecutors he then raped her.

Another victim, from the U.S., told prosecutors that the Tate brothers “use the bodies of young girls for financial gains, and the girls do it because they really think they are in love and they are frightened.”

Tate’s students were instructed in one of his online courses that it’s best to target vulnerable women for exploitation: “The ones who made me the most money had their dads dead, lived in fucked up neighborhoods.”

According to victim testimonies, the women were kept in Voluntari, a suburb of Bucharest, where the Tates owned two houses – including one that featured aluminum siding in the same red and black colors used by the Las Vegas casino brand.

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