Madrid: John McAfee, the creator of the McAfee antivirus software, has been found dead in his cell in a jail near Barcelona, a government official has said.
Hours earlier, a Spanish court issued a preliminary ruling in favor of the 75-year-old tycoon’s extradition to the United States to face tax-related criminal charges.
Security personnel at the Brians 2 penitentiary near the northeastern Spanish city tried to revive him, but the jail’s medical team finally certified his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.
The statement didn’t identify McAfee by name, but said he was a 75-year-old U.S. citizen awaiting extradition to his country. A Catalan government source familiar with the event who was not authorised to be named in media reports confirmed to the AP on Wednesday that the dead man was McAfee.
Spain’s National Court on Monday ruled in favour of extraditing McAfee, who had argued in a hearing earlier this month that the charges against him were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he was returned to the U.S.
The court’s ruling was made public on Wednesday and could be appealed. Any final extradition order would also need to get approval from the Spanish Cabinet.
Tennessee prosecutors charged McAfee with evading taxes after failing 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 criminal charges carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
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.