On Wednesday, the creator of McAfee antivirus software, John McAfee was found dead in a jail located near Barcelona in an apparent suicide, hours after a Spanish court approved his extradition to the United States to face tax charges as punishable by decades in prison.
The tax opponent and eccentric cryptocurrency promoter whose long history of legal problems spanned from Tennessee to Central America to the Caribbean was discovered at the Brians 2 penitentiary in Northeastern Spain. The security personnel tried to revive him but the jail’s medical team ultimately certified his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government stated.
A judicial delegation had arrived to investigate the causes of the death and added that everything points to death by suicide.
The statement did not identify McAfee by name but instead said that the dead man was a 75-year-old citizen who was awaiting extradition to his country. However, a Catalan government official who was familiar with the case but was not authorized to be named in the media reports confirmed that it was McAfee.
On Monday, Spain’s National Court had ruled in favor of extraditing McAfee, 75, who had thereby argued in an earlier hearing this month that the charges against him made by the prosecutors in Tennessee were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he returned to the US.
On Wednesday, the court’s ruling was made public. Any other final extradition order would also need to get approval from the Spanish Cabinet.
It was last October when the entrepreneur was arrested at Barcelona’s International airport. A judge had ordered at that time that McAfee should be in jail while he awaits the outcome of the extradition proceedings.
The same month, McAfee had been charged in Tennessee with evading taxes after he failed to report income from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did his consulting work, made speaking engagements, and also sold the rights to his life story for a documentary. The criminal charges carried a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Memphis declined to comment. Born in England’s Gloucestershire in 1945 as John David McAfee, in 1987 he had started in the McAfee Associates and had led an eccentric life after he sold his stake in the antivirus software company named after him during the early 1990s.
In 2019 July, McAfee was released from detention in the Dominican Republic after he and five others were suspected of traveling on a yacht while carrying high-caliber weapons, military-style gear, and ammunition.
In the latest reports, McAfee said that his main point of contact outside the prison was his wife, Janice McAfee. In an interview, McAfee had said that his experience of being in a Spanish prison is a fascinating adventure and that he plans to never return to the US.
He also added that the guards and the prisoners had recognized him and some had even asked for his autograph.