Anti-virus software entrepreneur John McAfee has been found dead in a Barcelona prison cell hours after a Spanish court agreed to extradite him to the US to face tax evasion charges.
The Catalan justice department said medics had tried to resuscitate the 75-year-old but were not successful. It added that “everything indicates” McAfee had taken his own life, BBC reports.
The entrepreneur, who was born in Gloucestershire, England first came to prominence in the 1980s when he founded his tech company and released the first commercial anti-virus software, McAfee VirusScan.
McAfee VirusScan helped to spark a multi-billion dollar industry in the computer world, and was eventually sold to technology giant Intel for more than $7.6bn (£4.7bn).
In October 2020, John McAfee was arrested in Spain when he was about to board a plane to Turkey, and accused of failing to file tax returns for four years, despite earning millions from consulting work, speaking engagements, crypto-currencies and selling the rights to his life story.
The US justice department alleged that McAfee evaded tax liability by having his income paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees.
He was also accused of concealing assets, including a yacht and real estate property, also in other people’s names.
Spain’s National Court authorised his extradition to the US to face the charges on Wednesday morning.
A controversial figure in the tech world, McAfee had more than afew legal troubles according to the BBC.
In 2012 he was arrested in Guatemala, having been on the run in Belize where police were investigating the death of his neighbour.
In 2019 he was briefly detained in the Dominican Republic for allegedly bringing weapons into the country.
In 2019 McAfee expressed his disdain for taxes, tweeting that he had not filed tax returns for eight years because “taxation is illegal.”
He also launched unsuccessful bids to become the Libertarian Party’s candidate for the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020.