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John McAfee
Source: Reuters
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  • Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee, 75, has been discovered dead in his jail cell in Barcelona
  • It seems Mr McAfee has taken his own life, according to the Catalan judicial department
  • The Spanish high court had already consented to extradite him back to the United States, where he is charged with tax evasion
  • After selling his interest in the antivirus software firm McAfee Associates in the early 1990s, he led an unconventional existence
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission says he earned more than $30.5 million in unreported revenue via fraudulent bitcoin recommendations

Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee, 75, has been discovered dead in his jail cell in Barcelona.

Mr McAfee seemed to have taken his own life, according to the Catalan judicial department.

The eccentric cryptocurrency advocate and tax opponent was discovered in the Brians 2 jail in northeastern Spain. His legal issues spanned jurisdictions in Central America, the Caribbean and the US state of Tennessee.

According to a statement from the regional Catalan government, security officers attempted to resuscitate him, but the jail’s medical staff eventually declared his death.

The statement did not mention McAfee by name, but stated that the deceased was a 75-year-old American citizen who was awaiting extradition to his homeland. A Catalan government official familiar with the matter who was not allowed to be identified in media reports confirmed the identity to The Associated Press.

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The Spanish high court had already consented to extradite McAfee back to the US, where he is charged with tax evasion.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil accusations against Mr McAfee, saying that he earned more than $30.5 million in unreported revenue via fraudulent and deceptive bitcoin recommendations.

Mr McAfee, who had been imprisoned in Barcelona for approximately nine months, still had options to appeal. However his lawyer, Javier Villalba, claimed he couldn’t bear any more time in prison.

“This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long,” Mr Villalba said.

John David McAfee was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1945, and founded McAfee Associates in 1987. After selling his interest in the antivirus software firm named after him in the early 1990s, he led an unconventional existence.

He was wanted for questioning in 2012 in connection with the killing of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot dead on the Belize island where he and McAfee resided in early November 2012.

In a wrongful death action, a Florida court ordered McAfee to pay $25 million to Faull’s estate in 2019.

He was released from custody in the Dominican Republic in July of that year after he and five other people were accused of sailing aboard a boat with high-caliber guns, ammunition and military-style gear.

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