Cybersecurity Software Pioneer John McAfee Arrested In Spain On Tax Evasion Charges
John David McAfee, the Silicon Valley legend behind the eponymous cybersecurity software, was found and arrested in Spain on tax-evasion charges, according to the U.S. Justice Department on Monday.
According to the Justice Department, McAfee’s extradition from Spain to the U.S. is still pending and a timeline cannot be provided.
An indictment from June unsealed on Monday states McAfee, 75, is accused of failing to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018 despite earning millions from “promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.”
The indictment details that McAfee evaded taxes and the Internal Revenue Service by accepting payments through cryptocurrency and bank accounts set up by others as well as dealing in mainly cryptocurrency to buy assets such as real estate in other people’s names. Each instance of tax evasion equates to a maximum prison sentence of five years and each failure to file carries an additional maximum sentence of one year.
A complaint filed on Monday by the Securities and Exchange Commission against McAfee and his bodyguard Jimmy Gale Watson provided more details about the government’s allegations: The complaint stated that McAfee earned more than $23 million, half in Bitcoin and half in Ether, from 2017 to 2018 by recommending “initial coin offerings” (a form of crowdfunding) to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.
McAfee is best known for the famous antivirus software company that still bears his name. McAfee has not been associated with the company since the 90s — Intel bought it in 2010, then sold its majority stake to the investment firm TPG in 2016.
In 2012, McAfee was seen fleeing his home in Belize after being sought after by police investigating his neighbor Gregory Faull‘s murder. He then reemerged in Guatemala City seeking asylum and laid low until he tried to run as the Libertarian candidate for president during the 2016 election. Months later, he and his wife were detained in Britain for entering the Dominican Republic with firearms on their yacht. Since then his whereabouts were unclear, though he active on social media.