The founder of the McAfee computer security software company, John McAfee, was found dead in his cell in the Barcelona prison Brians 2, according to police sources. Evidence points to suicide.
The Catalan regional police are investigating the incident. McAfee was awaiting extradition to the United States to face charges for tax evasion.
The prison guards found McAfee, 75, hanging in his cell. He received medical attention but they were unable to save his life.
Arrested in October 2020
The founder of the antivirus company was arrested on October 3, 2020, in Barcelona’s El Prat airport as he was about to take a flight to Turkey.
The arrest followed a request from the US justice system, which accused McAfee of evading millions of dollars in taxes. Spanish High Court Judge José de la Mata ordered him to be held in custody, and he was due to be extradited to the United States.
The US public prosecutor claims McAfee evaded millions of dollars with the promotion of cryptocurrencies. He also made considerable sums with the sale of rights for the publication of his biography.
The Spanish court ruled out that McAfee was being prosecuted for “political, ideological or similar issues.” The court said there was no evidence “further than the verbal allegations” of the antivirus company founder.
McAfee claimed there was a conspiracy
McAfee regularly claimed there was a US government plot against him and he did not feel safe. He was detained in Spain after a notification was sent out from Interpol, who included him on their list of most-wanted people following a request from the United States.
The US public prosecutor’s investigation claims McAfee evaded millions of dollars with the promotion of cryptocurrencies and the sale of rights for the publication of his biography between 2014 and 2018. Furthermore, he was accused of buying other assets in the name of third parties.
McAfee was arrested on several occasions. In 2019, he was detained in the Dominican Republic. His boat contained arms, ammunition and cash. His lawyer said at the time he was released, the weapons were seized before he had a chance to declare them.
A ‘complicated’ life
McAfee’s life was controversial. In interviews, he claimed to have spent a year travelling around Mexico selling jewels and drugs from a truck. He sold his anti-virus software company to Intel for nearly €6billion, in 2010.
In 2012, police in Belize wanted to interview McAfee over the death of his neighbour. McAfee lived surrounded by dogs, security guards and young women. His neighbour died from a gunshot to the head. Rather than speak to the police, McAfee fled claiming authorities would accuse him of the crime or kill him.
McAfee engaged in increasingly erratic behaviour, most recently as a self-styled cryptocurrency guru claiming to make $2,000 a day. He twice made runs for the US presidency, and was also a participant in Libertarian party presidential debates in 2016.
He was also a friend of Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire businessman accused of sex trafficking. Epstein was also found dead in a maximum-security prison in the United States.
On October 15, 2020, McAfee wrote from gaol on Twitter about his imprisonment. “I am content in here. I have friends. The food is good. All is well. Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine.” However, more recently he tweeted, “there is much sorrow in prison, disguised as hostility”.