US entrepreneur McAfee dies in Spanish jail after court ruling

Published June 24, 2021
A file photo taken on Aug 16, 2016, shows John McAfee speaking during an internet security conference in Beijing.—AFP
A file photo taken on Aug 16, 2016, shows John McAfee speaking during an internet security conference in Beijing.—AFP

BARCELONA: Technology entrepreneur John McAfee apparently hanged himself in his Spanish prison cell on Wednesday after a high court authorised his extradition to the United States, according to his lawyers.

Known for his eccentric behaviour and videos, the US entrepreneur was a pioneer of anti-virus software and indicted in Tennessee on tax evasion charges. McAfee was charged in a cryptocurrency fraud case in New York.

The Spanish court said in its ruling it had approved McAfee’s extradition to the United States where he is wanted for tax evasion.

“The court agrees to grant the extradition of John David McAfee as requested by the American judicial authorities for the crimes referred to in the tax offence indictments for years 2016 to 2018,” said the 16-page ruling dated Monday.

McAfee, who was arrested in Spain in October, is alleged to have deliberately failed to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, despite earning millions from consulting work, crypto-currencies and selling the rights to his life story.

According to the US extradition request filed in November and quoted in the ruling, McAfee earned more than 10 million euros over that period, but never filed a tax return.

“From 2014 to 2018, the defendant earned more than 10 million euros in income and therefore accumulated millions of dollars in tax liabilities. He did not file tax returns during any of those years,” it said.

“To conceal his income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service... the defendant ordered part of his income to be paid to straw men and placed property in their names.”

The Spanish court decision only referred to offences that took place between 2016 and 2018. When he was arrested in Barcelona on Oct 3 last year, McAfee was about to board a flight to Istanbul.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2021

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