John McAfee died of apparent suicide in Spanish prison after extradition order
The founder of the eccentric antivirus software company, John McAfee, was found dead of a suspected suicide in his prison cell in Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday, shortly after that country’s National Court. approved his extradition to the United States to face criminal tax evasion charges, his lawyers said.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo first reported that the Catalan Justice Ministry said McAfee, 75, died hours after the extradition decision. Barcelona is in the Catalonia region of Spain.
McAfee’s lawyer in Spain told Reuters that the founder of McAfee Associates apparently hanged himself.
El Mundo, citing the Catalan Justice Ministry, reported that prison health workers attempted to resuscitate him. McAfee was held at Brians 2 prison in Catalonia.
“Confirmation came from our legal team in Spain that John was found dead in his prison cell,” said Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s attorney in Chicago. “I am saddened to learn of the events and my prayers go out to his wife Janice.”
“John was and will always be remembered as a fighter,” said Sanan. “He tried to love this country but the US government made it impossible for him to exist. They tried to erase him but they failed.”
McAfee had the right to appeal his extradition, which ultimately required final approval from the Spanish Cabinet.
But he could no longer tolerate being kept locked up, according to Javier Villalba, his lawyer in Spain.
“This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in prison for so long,” Villalba told Reuters.
McAfee’s death in custody echoes that of Jeffrey Epstein, the accused child sex trafficker and multi-millionaire investor who died in a Manhattan federal prison in August 2019 in what authorities called suicide by hanging.
McAfee’s own father, who has been described as a violent alcoholic, reportedly fell when McAfee was 15.
John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Team and CEO of Luxcore and founder of McAfee Antivirus, speaks at the Malta Blockchain Summit in St Julian’s, Malta on November 1, 2018.
Darrin Zammit Lupi | Reuters
McAfee was arrested last October at Barcelona International Airport on the tax evasion charges, which are pending in federal court in Tennessee, and which carry a possible maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
He had since been in prison in Spain and had sought to avoid extradition by claiming he would be politically persecuted in the United States because of his criticism of the IRS.
On October 15, after being taken into custody, McAfee tweeted, “I’m happy here. I have friends. The food is good. Everything is fine.”
“Know that if I hang myself, Epstein style, it won’t be my fault,” he tweeted.
According to the tax evasion indictment, McAfee made millions of dollars in revenue promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting, speaking and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.
“From 2014 to 2018, McAfee reportedly failed to file income tax returns despite significant income from these sources,” the US Department of Justice said in October.
McAfee, along with another man, Jimmy Watson, were also indicted in Manhattan federal court in March with an alleged “pump and dump” program that bought large amounts of cheap cryptocurrency and then them. promoted online with “fake and misleading tweets”. increase their market prices.
“The members of the McAfee team have collectively earned more than $ 2 million in illicit profits through their altcoin scalping activities,” the Justice Department said in March.
Last week, McAfee tweeted about his criminal cases, writing: “The United States thinks I hid the crypto. I would have liked to have done so, but it dissolved thanks to the many hands of the McAfee team (your belief is not required), and my remaining assets seized. “
“My friends evaporated for fear of being associated. I have nothing. Yet I have no regrets,” McAfee wrote in the tweet, which is pinned to the top of his Twitter feed.
The Securities and Exchange Commission in a civil lawsuit last October accused McAfee of making more than $ 23 million in undisclosed revenue from false and misleading cryptocurrency recommendations.
McAfee resigned in 1994 from the eponymous antivirus software company he had founded seven years earlier. He then asked for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party in 2016, then again in 2020.
In 2013, he created a layman parody video explaining how users can uninstall the software.
In 2019, Florida federal court ordered McAfee to pay more than $ 25 million in damages to the estate of a Florida man named Gregory Faull, who was allegedly assassinated in Belize under McAfee’s leadership in 2012.
Faull owned a property along a beach next to McAfee’s residence, two dogs of which were said to have been poisoned by Faull.
McAfee had previously fled Belize and faked a heart attack in order to return to the United States. He has never been criminally charged in Faull’s murder.
Correction: John McAfee’s attorney in Chicago is Nishay Sanan. An earlier version misspelled its name.