February 27, 2023 | 14:19
Accused rapist Andrew Tate fueled conspiracy theories by flashing a mysterious hand signal as he arrived at a Romanian court on Monday for his latest convicted attempt to break out of prison.
The fiery influencer made a diamond shape with his hands as soon as he got out of a prison van handcuffed to his smiling brother, Tristan, 34, on his way into the Bucharest Court of Appeal.
With a scraggly beard and a mess of stubble covering his usually clean-shaven head, Tate, 36, kept the symbol throughout the tour in front of throngs of media.
The brothers – dual US and UK citizens – have yet to be formally charged despite being jailed on December 29, accused of rape and running an organized gang involved in sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
On Monday, they again lost an appeal to be released, with a judge ordering them held until at least March 29.
Tate has repeatedly thrown the diamond-shaped hand symbol before – sparked conspiracy theories and alarm at how it is being imitated by impressionable young boys.
Many have noticed that it resembles the so-called “Merkel diamond” – or Merkel-Raute – regularly worn by former German leader Angela Merkel and apparently copied by other world leaders and some celebrities, who soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tate – who has repeatedly blamed his legal problems with “The Matrix” — has previously acknowledged that people assume it must be “an Illuminati” or “Masonic hand symbol.”
“I am not associated with the Illuminati,” he insisted in a video.
Instead, he said, the symbol was one he copied from his late father, chess champion Emory Tate, and called it “a power up.”
“The reason I do it is because when your brain is as advanced as mine, you have to complete the circuit,” he said, saying he was “full of electricity” with “blood on fire.”
“I do it because it increases my powers – it’s like a power-up,” he said.
In the clip, Tate – known for his misogynistic outbursts – asked his “gentleman” followers to give it a try.
When his brother said that women had to watch too, Andrew Tate characteristically said: “Of course – but they have no power.”
It’s such outbursts – along with the serious sex crimes the influencer is accused of – that alarm experts who see boys impersonating the Tate power symbol.
The gesture carries a threat even if teenage boys use it “ironically,” according to Tim Squirrell of the human rights group Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
“For women and girls who are around it, it doesn’t really make a big difference – ‘ironic’ support for violent misogyny is in many cases indistinguishable from the real thing and creates an unsafe atmosphere for them,” he told Vise news.
It’s also part of Tate’s messages that dark forces are at play, preventing followers from seeing the evil he’s accused of, Squirrell suggested.
“If you believe that Tate is being persecuted, it can make it difficult to make some of the most serious and credible allegations against him – that he is an alleged human trafficker and rapist – because you can say that these are false allegations that have been found on to silence him, he said.
Since being locked up, Tate has continued to tweet to his 5.2 million followers.
On Monday, he complained that he had not received “a single visit” for 61 days in prison. “Not even from my children.”
Last week he claimed he was “awakened” by “an icy chill and identified a ghost in my prison cell”.
“He was terrified and begged me not to wipe him out,” he wrote of one much derided apparition.
“I sent him back to hell with a message to the demons…I’m always ready.”
Tate spent his early years in Chicago before moving to the UK with his mother after his parents divorced. He moved to Romania after being investigated in the UK, where no charges were brought.
He and his co-accused have always denied the Romanian accusations. The influencer had his hands in his pockets when he left Monday’s hearing.
On Monday, the prosecution also reversed an earlier decision to allow the brothers’ two co-accused – including the influencer’s rumored girlfriend – to be kept under house arrest. All four can be held for up to 180 days under Romanian law.
A document explaining an earlier decision to keep them in custody blamed “the particular dangerousness of the defendants” and their ability to identify victims “with increased vulnerability, in search of better life opportunities”.
With Post wires