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  • Caspar James - Tech Journalist

John McAfee, antivirus pioneer, found dead in his Spanish prison cell awaiting extradition to US

With the news earlier in the day that a judge had ordered John McAfee to be extradited back to the United States on tax evasion charges, he apparently took his own life by hanging. The 75 year old founder of the McAfee antivirus software empire had been in a prison cell in Barcelona since his arrest in October while getting on a plane to fly to Turkey. The Spanish court had approved his extradition to the US where he faced the prospect of a potential 30 year prison sentence for not filing his tax returns.



McAfee, 75, had been found dead in his prison cell in Brians 2 prison near Barcelona, late on Wednesday night, as reported by the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan regional police. It was reported that prison officers and medics had tried to revive him but were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead. He had apparently hung himself in his cell, on hearing the news that he was to be extradited back to the US. He had stated on numerous occasions that if he was ever found dead in his cell by suicide, he was "whacked", a term he referred to as being killed. He had the tattoo "$WHACKD" on his right arm.


Judicial staff from the Spanish authorities had been sent to the prison to investigate the suicide and to establish the cause of death and that everything points towards suicide. He had been arrested and held in a prison following an investigation by the US tax authorities on tax evasion charges and failing to to report income from promoting cryptocurrencies which McAfee promoted as part of his consultancy work, as well as income from speaking engagements and selling his life story to a publisher to be made in a documentary. His crime was that he did not file his tax returns, an offence under the American judicial. system for the years 2016 to 2018. The rime relates to three fiscal years that tax returns were not filed. Earlier in the month McAfee via videolink had argued that the charges were politically motivated and he said that if he were convicted, he would most probably spend the rest of his life behind bars if he were to return to the US.


McAfee was one of the oldest and successful antivirus software founded by John McAfee. John founded the company back in 1987, and since then, the company hasn't had to look back. There were some severe controversies against the founder, John McAfee, but McAfee the company is still vert much in business, but John McAfee has no association with the company he founded, as he sold it to Intel in 2010 for $7.7 billion. McAfee antivirus software has become a household name in antivirus security.


Twice John McAfee had fought for political office, by making two long runs for the US presidency, as a presidential candidate for the Libertarian party. His wealth peaked in 2007 when he was worth $100 million, before the financial crisis of 2007-2008 when his fortunes plummeted. He went on to found the Tribal Voice makers of the chat program PowWow, QuorumEx and Future Tense Central, all three businesses set up in Belize, where he had set up residency. He was involved in smart phone apps, cryptocurrencies and yoga.


Now this chapter in computer software evolution has drawn to a close with the death of its founder, we now wait to see the outcome of an enquiry into his death and whether the book rights to his life will shed any more light on the life of one of the great pioneers of computer antivirus software.












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