On June 23, the creator of the first commercial antivirus McAfee, 75-year-old businessman John McAfee committed suicide in the Spanish prison Brians 2 near Barcelona, the entrepreneur’s lawyer Javier Villalba told Reuters. According to him, the businessman committed suicide after falling into despair after spending nine months in prison. “This is the result of a brutal system that had no reason to keep him in prison for so long,” the lawyer said.
FILE PHOTO: John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Team and CEO of Luxcore and founder of McAfee Antivirus, speaks during an interview in Havana, Cuba, July 4, 2019. Picture taken July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini/File Photo Photo: Alexandre Meneghini
The Catalan authorities said that guards and paramedics tried to save McAfee, but in the end they stated that he was dead. “All indications are that it could be death by suicide,” say the local Department of Justice.
John McAfee committed suicide a few hours after the Spanish National Court of Justice decided to extradite the businessman to the United States, where he faced a long prison sentence. He himself said at court hearings in Spain that, after returning to the United States, he would spend the rest of his life in prison. McAfee argued that there was a conspiracy against him, and the American authorities were persecuting him for political reasons. The court responded by saying that it could not confirm this. The defense could appeal the court decision within three days. In addition, as the Associated Press points out, the extradition had to be approved by the Spanish government.
McAfee was detained on October 3, 2020 at the Barcelona airport, when he was about to fly to Istanbul, after which he was sent under arrest. The businessman was detained at the request of the US Department of Justice, which accused him of tax evasion. According to Tennessee prosecutors investigating, in 2016-2018, McAfee did not pay taxes on the $ 23 million income earned from promoting cryptocurrencies, lecturing and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary. On these charges, he faced up to 30 years in prison. In addition, in New York, he was accused of fraud with cryptocurrencies and money laundering, for which, as Business Insider wrote, the businessman was threatened with life imprisonment. McAfee denied all charges.
John McAfee was born in 1945 in Gloucestershire, England, and spent his childhood in the US state of Virginia. He grew up a troubled child with a father who “mercilessly” beat the boy and committed suicide when his son was 15, Steve Morgan, founder of research firm Cybersecurity Ventures, who worked on the entrepreneur’s biography, told AP.
Before releasing the first commercial antivirus, John McAfee worked for several large organizations, including NASA and Xerox. In 1987, he founded McAfee Associates, which has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of antivirus software. In 1994, McAfee left the company, and after a few more years he completely left its management, sold his share and started investing in other projects. In 2011, Intel bought McAfee for $ 7.68 billion. The antivirus program still bears the name of its creator, with more than 500 million users installing it. McAfee himself said that he does not use his software, as well as antiviruses in general.
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