Controversial influencer Andrew Tate has threatened legal action against at least one of the women making rape and human trafficking claims against him.
Lawyers for the woman in the US say a “cease-and-desist” letter was sent by a US law firm in December, on behalf of Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan.
The letter threatened to sue the woman and her parents for $300m (£249m) if she did not retract her statements.
A lawyer for the Tates said they were pursuing valid claims for defamation.
The BBC has seen a redacted copy of the letter, apparently sent on behalf of the brothers.
“In April 2022,” it reads, “you falsely stated to a third party that our Client human trafficked you, abused you and held you against your will […] You have repeated false and defamatory statements to the police, the media, and another United States citizen about the Tate brothers.”
Andrew and Tristan Tate are currently being held in preventative custody in Romania, while police investigate allegations of trafficking and rape, which both men deny.
Benjamin Bull – who works for the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation – says his client is a key witness in the Romanian investigation, and that the letter was designed to do “one thing and one thing only”:
“[It] was intended to shut down the witness; stop the witness from bringing testimony forward in any proceedings,” he said.
“They want these young ladies to climb into a hole and hide, never come forward [or] describe what they saw and what happened to them. It’s clearly an effort to intimidate.”