The McAfee antivirus software creator John McAfee was found dead in his jail cell near Barcelona in an apparent suicide on Wednesday, hours after a Spanish court approved his extradition to the United States to face tax charges punishable by decades in prison, say authorities.
According to The Associated Press report, “The eccentric cryptocurrency promoter and tax opponent whose history of legal troubles spanned from Tennessee to Central America to the Caribbean was discovered at the Brians 2 penitentiary in northeastern Spain. Security personnel tried to revive him, but the jail’s medical team finally certified his death,” a statement from the regional Catalan government said.
“A judicial delegation has arrived to investigate the cause of death,” it said, adding that everything points to death by suicide.”
The statement didn’t identify McAfee by name but said the dead man was a 75-year-old U.S. citizen awaiting extradition to his country. A Catalan government official familiar with the case who was not authorized to be named in media reports confirmed to The Associated Press that it was McAfee.
Spain’s National Court on Monday ruled in favor of extraditing McAfee, 75, who had argued in a hearing earlier this month that the charges against him by prosecutors in Tennessee were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if returned to the U.S.
The court’s ruling was made public on Wednesday and was open for appeal, with any final extradition order also needing to get approval from the Spanish Cabinet.
McAfee was arrested last October at Barcelona’s international airport and had been in jail since then awaiting the outcome of extradition proceedings. The arrest followed charges the same month in Tennessee for evading taxes after failing to report income from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did consulting work, made speaking engagements, and sold the rights to his life story for a documentary. The criminal charges carried a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
(Read continue at The Associated Press)