The developer of a worldwide famous computer antivirus software John McAfee was found dead in his Spanish prison cell Wednesday, just hours after his extradition to the United States had been approved.
Preliminary reports indicate McAfee might have committed suicide.
He was found lifeless at a penitentiary facility near Barcelona where he was being held pending extradition “at around 7:00 p.m. local time,” a spokeswoman for the Catalonia correctional service was quoted as saying.
The 75-year-old McAfee was wanted in his native United States for tax fraud. After making his fortune with his antivirus in the 1980s, McAfee became a cryptocurrency guru and was followed by close to a million people on Twitter.
He was arrested in October 2020 at the Barcelona airport after the publication by a US attorney of an indictment against him for failing to declare millions of dollars from the promotion of cryptocurrencies, consulting services, conferences and copyright royalties for a documentary about his life.
The US authorities had issued an arrest warrant to Interpol for allegedly pocketing more than 13 million dollars through fraudulent schemes on the internet and together with a close aide they were both being investigated for seven possible crimes of conspiracy to commit stock fraud and money laundering.
Earlier Wednesday, Spain's National High Court had given the green light for his extradition. During his Spanish court appearance, he claimed to have paid millions of dollars in taxes and said he was the victim of political persecution for having denounced corruption.
McAfee's tax debt in the United States is said to amount to more than four million dollars. In 1989 he founded McAfee Associates, which for a few years called itself Network Associates and which eventually became the McAfee company. In 2010 he launched a new project focused on biosecurity at the helm of the Belize-based company QuorumEx.