(CMR) John McAfee, the creator of the McAfee antivirus software who was facing tax evasion charges in the US, has been found dead in his cell in a jail near Barcelona.
The cause of his death is still being investigated. The Associated Press reported that McAfee's death comes hours after a Spanish court issued a preliminary ruling that the 75-year-old tycoon be extradited to the United States to face tax-related criminal charges.
According to AP reports, 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 read that “a judicial delegation has arrived to investigate the causes of death” and that “Everything points to death by suicide.”
The statement didn’t identify McAfee by name but said he was a 75-year-old US citizen awaiting extradition to his country; however, a government source familiar with the event confirmed to the AP that the dead man was McAfee.
McAfee was arrested in Spain last year after being indicted in the United States for tax evasion months earlier. According to CNN reports, he allegedly failed to file taxes for four years despite earning millions in income between 2014 and 2018 from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.
A three-judge panel ruled in favor of extraditing McAfee, who had argued that the charges against him by prosecutors in Tenessee were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he were returned to the U.S.
The court's ruling was made public on Wednesday and was open for appeal; the final extradition order would also need to get approval from the Spanish Cabinet, AP reported.