UK born technology entrepreneur John McAfee, the man behind McAfee antivirus and eponymous cybersecurity brand died by hanging in his prison cell on Wednesday, according to Reuters. News of his suicide came after the Spanish High Court authorized his extradition to the US as stated by his lawyer, where he faced tax evasion charges.
McAfee was arrested at the Barcelona airport in October 2020, and at a later hearing argued that the accusations against him were politically motivated. He linked the charges filed by the Internal Revenue Service to his failed bid to run as a Libertarian Party candidate in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, a second such attempt.
The former tech mogul said he had been arrested despite paying “millions of dollars in taxes” and resisted extradition, claiming he faced political persecution for denouncing corruption in the Internal Revenue Service and opposing the fiat money system, in which central banks such as the US Federal Reserve control the money supply.
However, on Wednesday the 23rd, the Spanish court released its decision to allow the US justice department’s request to extradite him, saying there was “no supporting evidence that such a thing could be happening”. According to Breakingnews.ie, a statement from the regional Catalan government relayed the fact that security personnel at the Brians 2 penitentiary near the north-eastern Spanish city tried to revive McAfee, who was 75, but the jail’s medical team finally certified his death.
Back in March, McAfee was also charged over a $13 million cryptocurrency scam after allegedly luring victims on Twitter. The McAfee Associates founder was also hit with a slew of charges, including money laundering and fraud, in the Manhattan federal court. The charges stemmed from two schemes concerning the fraudulent promotion to investors of cryptocurrencies, the US Department of Justice said.
McAfee and his bodyguard, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr, were charged for a scheme to exploit McAfee’s Twitter following by publicly touting cryptocurrency offerings and digital tokens that they later sold once prices rose on the promotions, according to the US Department of Justice.
Before his legal turmoil, McAfee was a pioneer of the cybersecurity industry. He founded McAfee Corp. in 1987 in Santa Clara, California, and led the company as it dominated the market for antivirus protection of personal computers. At one point, half of all Fortune 100 companies used antivirus services from McAfee.
The company’s founder eventually resigned in 1994. Decades later, he told the South China Morning Post that running the company no longer was fun as it grew to a huge corporation with thousands of employees.
Intel Corp. bought the company in 2010 and later rebranded all McAfee products as Intel Security. After his name was removed, McAfee told the BBC, “I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet.” In 2016, when McAfee tried to use the name with a new security company, Intel filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent him from doing so. Intel and McAfee settled the lawsuit, with McAfee agreeing not to use his name in the field of cybersecurity.