Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee was found dead in his prison cell in Spain on Wednesday, shortly after a court approved his extradition to the United States, where he was wanted for tax evasion, a prison official said. .
A spokesman for the prison system in the northeastern Catalonia region confirmed media reports that the 75-year-old was found dead in his cell on the Brian 2 peninsula near Barcelona, ”apparently by suicide”. He did not provide any further details.
McAfee has been in prison in Spain since being arrested at Barcelona airport in October 2020, just as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul.
He is accused of knowingly failing to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, while earning millions from consulting work, cryptocurrencies and selling the rights to his life story.
If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.
Spain’s national court said on Wednesday that it has approved his extradition to the United States.
The decision could still be appealed and extradition would also require approval from the Spanish cabinet.
McAfee earned more than 10 million euros ($12 million) over four years, but never filed a tax return, according to a US extradition request filed in November and cited in the ruling.
“In order to conceal his income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service … the defendant ordered the payment of part of his income to the straw men and placed the property in his name,” it said.
The Spanish court ruling only mentions offenses committed between 2016 and 2018.
Since making a fortune in the 1980s with antivirus software that still bears his name, McAfee had become a self-proclaimed crypto-currency guru, claiming to make $2,000 a day.
He has more than one million followers on Twitter.
He said in a tweet on June 16 he said US officials believed he had “secret crypto. I wish I had”.
“The rest of my property has been confiscated. My friends are lost in fear of union. I have nothing. Still, I have nothing to regret.”
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