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‘I’ll spend the rest of my life in prison’: John McAfee said he feared extradition to US days before death

·2 min read
John McAfee, creator of the famous commercial antivirus software McAfee, appears via videoconference during his extradition hearing at Audiencia Nacional court, in Madrid, Spain (EPA)
John McAfee, creator of the famous commercial antivirus software McAfee, appears via videoconference during his extradition hearing at Audiencia Nacional court, in Madrid, Spain (EPA)

Antivirus creator John McAfee said he feared spending the rest of his life in prison just days before he was found dead.

The 75-year-old was found dead in a Barcelona prison cell on Wednesday, according to the Catalan justice department quoted by Reuters.

A week earlier, McAfee testified to a Spanish court on 15 June as part of his fight against extradition to the United States on tax charges that carried a prison sentence up to 30 years, according to The Associated Press.

Appearing via videolink, McAfee argued to Spain’s National Court that the charges were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he was returned to the US.

"If I am extradited, it is almost certain that I will spend the rest of my life in prison because the United States wants to use me as an example," he said, according to the Spanish news outlet Europa Press.

McAfee was arrested at Barcelona’s international airport in October, with the Spanish court ruling on Monday to extradite the billionaire to face his Tennessee arrest warrant.

Prosecutors allege McAfee didn’t report earnings from cryptocurrency and speaking fees, as well as income from selling the documentary film rights to his life story.

The Spanish court found “no supporting evidence” of political persecution despite McAfee’s testimony he was a victim for his complaints against corruption within America’s tax agency, Europa Press reported.

The court also rejected the argument to reject extradition on humanitarian grounds given his age, state of health and that a sentence in the US would entail life imprisonment.

“The Chamber explains that there is no record that the defendant suffers from serious health problems and there is no evidence that he has suffered any problem related to covid-19,” Europa Press reported.

Sources at Penitenciario de Brians confirmed to the outlet that medical services attempted to revive McAfee and that investigators working to determine the cause of death, but that the Ministry of Justice said “everything indicates that it could be a death by suicide”.

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