American software pioneer John McAfee, 75, was found dead on Wednesday during a cell in Barcelona, Spain, consistent with McAfee’s lawyers. Just hours earlier, a court in Spain had approved the extradition of McAfee to the U.S., where he was set to face trial on federal tax evasion charges. Authorities are investigating the explanation for death. An eccentric and brash millionaire known widely for his eponymous antivirus software, McAfee sold his stake within the company within the mid-1990s and spent his life globe-trotting and stumbling frequently into legal trouble.
Eventually, he landed on an island off the coast of Belize, where he operated a palatial estate known to be the location of raging parties and illicit behavior. He fled the property after being named as a suspect during a murder there. McAfee bragged about being a tax dodge during a 2019 tweet, even as federal investigators were homing in on him. He wasn’t ready to run forever. McAfee was arrested in October 2020 in Spain for failing to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018 in Tennessee and concealing assets, including a yacht. during a separate investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued McAfee for a “pump and dump scheme” during which he allegedly made $23 million in undisclosed compensation by pushing cryptocurrencies on his Twitter page.
“McAfee’s recommendations were materially false and misleading,” consistent with the SEC’s suit, also from October 2020. Federal authorities additionally filed a civil case against McAfee for equivalent actions. Vishay Sanan, McAfee’s lawyer, told NPR he intended to fight all the fees. “This is again the U.S. government trying to erase John McAfee. and that is what it is often getting to be,” Sanan said. “This man was a fighter. And within the minds of everyone who knew him, he will always be a fighter.” There was even more to the legal cloud the hung over McAfee.
In 2012, he was arrested in Guatemala, where he was charged with entering the country illegally. He was seeking political asylum after he had been on a highly publicized flight from his range in Belize after the murder of his neighbor. Investigators said McAfee was “a person of interest” in the murder. McAfee’s Belize island home was referred to as a celebration house, with many ladies living there, additionally to many large dogs. His former neighbor, Gregory Faull, reportedly complained about the animals. One day, McAfee discovered that the dogs had been poisoned. Shortly after, Faull was found dead.
“John definitely didn’t have anything to try to thereupon,” McAfee’s spokesman, Brian Fitzgerald, told NPR in 2012. McAfee took pride in outwitting authorities. He once boasted about eluding police by dressing as a German tourist during a Speedo and once more as an angry homeless man. In 2015, McAfee announced a White House bid with libertarian values and a celebration with a nod to his Silicon Valley past: the Cyber Party. “Personal freedom and private privacy are paramount,” McAfee told Larry King about his presidential run. “I’ve been incarcerated a variety of times. I’m a direct action person.” CeCe Craig, McAfee’s former house manager in Woodland Park, Colo., lived on McAfee’s property for years within the early 2000s and said she knew a cheerier side of the software legend.
“I got the simplest of John McAfee. He was really into his yoga retreats. He loved playing the grand. We hiked around tons on his land,” she told NPR. “I learned tons from him. once I lived with him, he was adamantly against drugs and alcohol to specialize in his yoga,” she said. “He was a nerd. That’s how I always saw him.” In one of his last interviews, on the Delphi Podcast, just before s before he was arrested in Spain, McAfee wore a blazer and sunglasses and appeared unhinged, screaming and cursing at the host about Bitcoin. He also expressed his disdain for income taxes. When asked if that meant he doesn’t want to return to the U.S., he had a fast reply. “No, I do want to measure during an America. I just can’t,” he said. “They won’t let me back in, what am I able to tell you?”