Founder of antivirus software, John McAfee, 75, allegedly took his own life by hanging himself in his prison cell in Barcelona on Wednesday, within hours of extradition ruling by the Spanish high court. He was to be extradited to the United States on tax evasion charges.
The news of his death was announced by his lawyers, “Confirmation has come from our legal team in Spain that John was found dead in his jail cell. I am saddened to hear of the events and my prayers go out to his wife Janice. John was and will always be remembered as a fighter. He tried to love this country but the U.S. Government made his existence impossible. They tried to erase him but they failed.” Said Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s lawyer in Chicago.
The U.S. technology entrepreneur was arrested in October 2020 on tax evasion charges for hearing at the Federal court in Tennessee. If found guilty, he would have faced 30 years jail term. Pending the hearing, he had been jailed in Spain and by all means hinted he didn’t want to be extradited to the United States for fear of political bias because of his open criticism of the IRS.
“I am content in here. I have friends. The food is good. All is well.” McAfee tweeted on October 15, following his arrest. He also hinted suicide “Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine,” he tweeted.
McAfee, according to the tax indictment made millions of dollars from promoting cryptocurrencies, speaking engagements, selling the rights to his life story for a documentary and consulting work. But apparently, for good four years, he evaded tax. “From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly failed to file tax returns, despite receiving considerable income from these sources,” the U.S. Justice Department said in October.
In March, McAfee was indicted alongside the executive adviser of his cryptocurrency team, Jimmy Watson, by the Manhattan federal court for fraud and money laundering conspiracy crimes. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, McAfee and Watson exploited a widely used social media platform and enthusiasm among investors in the emerging cryptocurrency market to make millions through lies and deception. The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives. McAfee, Watson, and other members of McAfee’s cryptocurrency team allegedly raked in more than $13 million from investors they victimized with their fraudulent schemes. Investors should be wary of social media endorsements of investment opportunities.”
McAfee had the right to appeal his extradition from the Spain Cabinet but according to his lawyer, Javier Villalba, he was fed up with being locked up. “This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long,” Villalba told Reuters.
It was reported that the prison’s medical professionals tried to save his life but it was too late.