Eccentric anti-virus software company founder John McAfee was found dead on Wednesday in his prison cell in Barcelona, Spain, on suspected suicide, shortly after the Spanish national court approved his extradition to the United States to face criminal tax evasion charges ask his lawyers.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo first reported that the Catalan Justice Ministry said McAfee, 75, died within hours of the extradition ruling.
The McAfee attorney in Spain told Reuters that the founder of McAfee Associates appeared to have hanged himself.
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported, citing the Catalan Ministry of Justice, that the prison’s medical workers tried to resuscitate him. McAfee was being held in Brian’s 2 prison in Catalonia.
“Our legal team in Spain has confirmed that John was found dead in his prison cell,” said Nishan Sanan, McAfee’s Chicago attorney. “I am sad to hear of what has happened and my prayers are 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 his existence impossible. They tried to wipe him out, but they failed.”
McAfee had the right to appeal his extradition, which ultimately required final approval from the Spanish cabinet.
But he couldn’t stand staying locked up any longer, said 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 commemorates Jeffrey Epstein, the accused child smuggler and multi-millionaire investor, who died of suicide by hanging in a federal prison in Manhattan in August 2019.
McAfee’s own father, described as an alcoholic abusive, allegedly shot himself when McAfee was 15 years old.
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 tax evasion charges pending in federal court in Tennessee with a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
He had since been incarcerated in Spain and tried to avoid extradition by claiming political persecution in the United States for criticizing the IRS.
On October 15, after his arrest, McAfee tweeted, “I’m happy in here. I have friends. The food is good. Everything is good.”
“You know it’s not my fault if I hang myself, a la Epstein,” he tweeted.
According to the tax evasion charge, McAfee generated millions in revenue from promoting cryptocurrencies, advising, speaking, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.
“From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly did not file any tax returns, despite having received significant income from these sources,” the US Justice Department said in October.
McAfee, along with another man, Jimmy Watson, was also indicted in Manhattan federal court in March for an alleged “pump-and-dump” program that allegedly bought large amounts of cheap cryptocurrency and then advertised it online as “fake and” were misleading tweets “in order to increase their market prices.
Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:
“The members of the McAfee team have collectively made more than $ 2 million in illicit profits from their altcoin scalping activities,” the Justice Department said in March.
Last week, McAfee tweeted about its criminal cases, writing, “The US believes I was hiding crypto. I wish I had, but it has been disintegrated through Team McAfee’s many hands (your belief is not required), and my remaining assets are all “. confiscated. “
“My friends disappeared for fear of associations. I have nothing. Nevertheless, I have no regrets,” wrote McAfee in the tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter feed.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged McAfee last October in a civil lawsuit of generating more than $ 23 million in undisclosed revenue from false and misleading cryptocurrency recommendations.
McAfee left the anti-virus software company of the same name in 1994, which he founded seven years earlier. He later sought the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2016 and again in 2020.
In 2013, he created a mundane spoof video explaining how users can uninstall the software.
In 2019, a Florida federal court sentenced McAfee to more than $ 25 million in damages for the estate of a Florida man named Gregory Faull, who was allegedly murdered in Belize in 2012 on McAfee orders.
Faull owned a property on a beach next to McAfee, whose two dogs were allegedly poisoned by Faull.
McAfee had previously fled Belize and faked a heart attack to return to the United States. He was never charged with Faull’s murder.