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John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison

·2-min read
John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison
In this Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 file photo, the founder of the first commercial anti-virus program that bore his name, John McAfee listens during the 4th China Internet Security Conference (ISC) in Beijing.  (AP)
In this Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 file photo, the founder of the first commercial anti-virus program that bore his name, John McAfee listens during the 4th China Internet Security Conference (ISC) in Beijing. (AP)

John McAfee, the founder of antivirus company McAfee, has been found dead in a Spanish prison near Barcelona, reports say.

He reportedly died by suicide on Wednesday afternoon in a prison cell, just hours after a preliminary ruling by the Spanish High Court authorized his extradition to the United States on charges of tax evasion.

The Catalan justice department confirmed in a statement that the likely cause of death is suicide, Reuters reported.

Employees at the Brians 2 penitentiary tried to revive the 75-year-old Mr McAfee but were unsuccessful, according to a statement cited by Spanish newspaper El Mundo and reporting by the Associated Press.

According to the newspaper El Pais, the software entrepreneur was arrested in October and was awaiting extradition to the US when he was found dead.

The paper added that police are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

Mr McAfee had been charged with several federal financial crimes in two US districts. In the Western District of Tennessee, Mr McAfee was indicted in October on ten counts of allegedly evading taxes on millions of dollars of income.

In a Manhattan federal court in March, he was charged for a scheme involving cryptocurrency, which he was pushing on social media.

The charges carried a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

A statement from the regional Catalan government didn’t identify the American tycoon by name but said he was a 75-year-old US citizen awaiting extradition to the country.

A Catalan government source familiar with the event who was not authorized to be named in media reports confirmed to the AP that the dead man was Mr McAfee.

Tennessee prosecutors charged Mr McAfee with evading taxes after he failed to report income made from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did consultancy work, as well as income from speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

The charges refer to the three fiscal years from 2016 to 2018, according to the Spanish court’s Wednesday ruling.

The entrepreneur was arrested last October at Barcelona’s international airport. A judge ordered at that time that McAfee should be held in jail while awaiting the outcome of a hearing on extradition.

In a hearing held via videolink earlier this month, Mr 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 US.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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