UK-born antivirus software pioneer John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison cell

23 June 2021, 20:53 | Updated: 23 June 2021, 21:33

John McAfee was found dead in his Spanish prison cell, officials said
John McAfee was found dead in his Spanish prison cell, officials said. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

UK-born antivirus pioneer John McAfee has been found dead in his Spanish prison cell, the Catalan justice department has said.

The 75-year-old British-American, who founded McAfee Associates, was discovered lifeless in Brians 2 jail in Sant Esteve Sesrovires.

Just hours earlier, Spain's National Court had approved McAfee's extradition to the United States, where he was wanted on tax-related criminal charges.

He still had the choice to appeal the decision and the Spanish Cabinet had not yet approved the move.

Security at the penitentiary tried to revive McAfee but the prison's medical team later confirmed his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.

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McAfee was likely set for extradition to the United States
McAfee was likely set for extradition to the United States. Picture: PA

Prosecutors in Tennessee had charged the entrepreneur with tax evasion after McAfee failed to report income made from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did consultancy work, in addition to income from speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

The charges, which carry a US prison sentence of up to 30 years, refer to the three fiscal years from 2016 to 2018, according to the Spanish court's ruling on Wednesday.

McAfee was arrested last October at Barcelona's international airport.

At the time, a judge ordered that he should be held in jail while awaiting the outcome of his extradition hearing.

In a separate hearing held via video-link earlier this month, McAfee argued that the charges against him were politically motivated and said he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he was returned to the States.