American software pioneer John McAfee, 75, was found dead on Wednesday in a prison cell in Barcelona, Spain, according to McAfee’s lawyers.
Just hours earlier, a court in Spain had approved the extradition of McAfee to the U.S., where he was set to stand trial on federal tax-evasion charges.
Authorities are investigating the cause of death.
An eccentric and brash millionaire known widely for his eponymous antivirus software, McAfee sold his stake in the company in the mid-1990s and spent his life globe-trotting and stumbling frequently into legal trouble.
Eventually, he landed on an island off the coast of Belize, where he operated a palatial estate known to be the site of raging parties and illicit behavior. He fled the property after being named as a suspect in a murder there.
McAfee bragged about being a tax dodge in a 2019 tweet, just as federal investigators were homing in on him.
He was not able to run forever.
McAfee was arrested in October 2020 in Spain for failing to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018 in Tennessee and concealing assets, including a yacht.
I have not filed a tax return for 8 years. Why? 1: taxation is illegal. 2: I paid tens of millions already and received Jack Shit in services. 3. I’m done making money. I live off of cash from McAfee Inc. My net income is negative. But i am a prime target for the IRS. Here I am.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) January 3, 2019
In a separate investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued McAfee for a “pump and dump scheme” in which he allegedly made $23 million in undisclosed compensation by pushing cryptocurrencies on his Twitter page.
“McAfee’s recommendations were materially false and misleading,” according to the SEC’s suit, also from October 2020.
Federal authorities additionally filed a civil case against McAfee for the same actions.
Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s lawyer, told NPR he intended to fight all the charges.
“This is again the U.S. government trying to erase John McAfee. And that’s what it’s always going to be,” Sanan said. “This man was a fighter. And in the minds of everyone who knew him, he will always be a fighter.”
There was even more to the legal cloud the hung over McAfee.
In 2012, he was arrested in Guatemala, where he was charged with entering the country illegally. He was seeking political asylum after he had been on a highly publicized flight from his home in Belize after the murder of his neighbor. Investigators said McAfee was “a person of interest” in the murder.
John McAfee talks to the media outside Beacon Hotel where he stayed after arriving from Guatemala in December 2012 in Miami Beach, Fla. McAfee was found dead in a Spanish prison cell on Wednesday, according to his lawyer.
McAfee’s Belize island home was known as a party house, with many women living there, in addition to several large dogs. His former neighbor, Gregory Faull, reportedly complained about the animals. One day, McAfee discovered that the dogs had been poisoned. Shortly after, Faull was found dead.
“John definitely did not have anything to do with that,” McAfee’s spokesman, Brian Fitzgerald, told NPR in 2012.
McAfee took pride in outwitting authorities. He once boasted about eluding police by dressing as a German tourist in a Speedo and another time as an angry homeless man.
He once insisted, in a 2015 interview with WBBJ, a television station in Tennessee, that he be interviewed with a loaded gun in each hand.
“Very little gives me a feeling of being safe and more secure other than being armed in my bedroom with the door locked,” McAfee told the station.
Despite it all, he tried twice to run for president.
In 2015, McAfee announced a White House bid with libertarian values and an affiliation he created with a nod to his Silicon Valley past: the Cyber Party.
“Personal freedom and personal privacy are paramount,” McAfee told Larry King about his presidential run. “I’ve been incarcerated a number of times. I am a civil disobedience person.”
CeCe Craig, McAfee’s former house manager in Woodland Park, Colo., lived on McAfee’s property for years in the early 2000s and said she knew a cheerier side of the software legend.
“I got the best of John McAfee. He was really into his yoga retreats. He loved playing the grand piano. We hiked around a lot on his land,” she told NPR. “I learned a lot from him. When I lived with him, he was adamantly against drugs and alcohol to focus on his yoga,” she said.
“He was a nerd. That’s how I always saw him.”
In one of his last interviews, on the Delphi Podcast, just before s before he was arrested in Spain, McAfee wore a blazer and sunglasses and appeared unhinged, screaming and cursing at the host about Bitcoin. He also expressed his disdain for income taxes. When asked if that meant he does not want to return to the U.S., he had a quick reply.
“No, I do want to live in a America. I just can’t,” he said. “They won’t let me back in, what can I tell you?”
Crypto is a danger to world economy, tool for money laundry- EFCC Boss
Advancement in digital assets such as cryptocurrencies increasingly portends huge risks to the world economy, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said.
This, according to Bawa, is partly because, many criminals now play significant roles in crypto-currency markets. He said the virtual currencies had become their preferred mediums of exchange.
Bawa spoke while delivering his keynote address Monday at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, themed, ‘Economic Crime-Who pays and who should pay?’
The event was organised by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, who captured some highlights of the event in a statement, quoting Bawa as saying, “The developments in new technologies and the growth of cryptocurrencies portrays a far greater danger to the world economy than ever before with many criminals playing significant roles in crypto-currency markets.
“Criminals now elect to transact or receive illegal monies (such as ransom money) for
cyber-attacks in cryptocurrencies with Bitcoins and Ethereum as the most commonly used mediums for these exchanges.”
He lamented that “the sophistication and complexity that defines the dynamics of economic crime in the 21st Century continues to evolve, spurred by technological advancement in the global economy that has become borderless and transnational.”
This he said had “inevitably led to the prioritisation of law enforcement action on crimes that drive Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) across the globe”.
‘No nation is immune’
According to the EFCC Boss, “economic crimes which are largely illegal acts committed for private gain affect the vital structures of global economies, causing significant damage to the Global Financial System and depriving developing nations of the needed resources for sustainable development”.
He noted that developed countries are not immune to the scourge, which, according to him, has “magnified with the proliferation of cyber-crimes which threatens the stability of Global Financial Institutions.”
Bawa said the platform of the event provided an opportunity to interrogate the challenges of economic crimes.
“As the victims of crime continue to suffer globally from the effects of financial crimes, either directly or indirectly as part of a social system, the determination of who pays or who should pay becomes a critical measure of the criminal justice system in place.”
He underlined the imperatives of an impartial judiciary in ensuring that “the perpetrators of acts and not the victims pay for their crimes.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had barred commercial banks and other financial institutions from transacting with cryptocurrency in fear of the risks it poses to investments and the economy at large.
Despite these actions, there have been reports over the use of these digital or virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and others, with criminals turning it to a haven to launder proceeds of corruption, fraud, drug trafficking, and other heinous crimes.
PRecall that last month that the United States Department of Justice training over 50 Nigerian investigators and prosecutors to tackle cryptocurrency-enabled organised crimes.
Efforts to fight crypto-related crimes
While highlighting some of the transparency and accountability achievements of the current administration by President Muhammadu Buhari, Bawa pointed out that the EFCC, as the rallying point in the fight against economic crimes in Nigeria, has recorded important milestones in investigations, prosecutions and assets recovery.
“Since its establishment in 2003, the Commission has recorded no less than 3,500 convictions and recovered assets of significant value including properties in Nigeria, the UK, USA, and the UAE. All these have measurably contributed to the national efforts against economic crimes in Nigeria,” he said.
The EFCC charged participants to come up with practical solutions to curb the international threat of economic crimes.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the symposium, Saul Froomkin, thanked the EFCC boss for his insightful presentation, and the support received from Nigeria in organising the event.
Participants at the symposium were drawn from law enforcement and security agencies, accountability institutions and partners across the world.
SuperTV CEO: Lagos DPP to charge Chidinma Ojukwu, two others
A Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State has adjourned to sept 29, further hearing in the murder of Usifo Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV.
A 21-year-old student, Chidinma Ojukwu and one Adedapo Quadri were again presented. before the Chief Magistrate, Adeola Adedayo on Monday after they were ordered to be remanded for thirty days at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre last month.
Police Prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor, informed the court that the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution had issued a legal advice on the case, recommending their trial for murder which implies that the case will now be heard at the high court of Lagos state which has jurisdiction to hear matters of this nature
She, however, adjourned the case to await further Information from the DPP as to the status of the case at the high court that will now hear the matter.
The News Beat also gathered that the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Olayinka Adeyemi, recommended the release of four persons who are also standing trial at the Magistrate court for obstruction of justice and dishonestly receiving stolen belongings of the deceased .
The four persons are Babalola Disu, Olowu Ifeoluwa, Olutayo Abayomi, Nkechi Mogbo, Ojukwu Onoh, who is said to be Chidinma’s adopted father.
One Egbuchu Chioma who was allegedly found in possession of the deceased’s iPhone 7, and who had initially refused to release the phone on demand, is however to continue her trial.
Omoyele Sowore’s younger brother shot dead
Sahara Reporters Publisher and ex-presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, has narrated how kidnappers shot dead his brother in the Okada area of Edo State on Saturday.
According to him, Olajide was killed in the early hours of Saturday on his way from the Igbinedion University where he was studying Pharmacy.
Sowore, in a tribute on his Facebook page, described his deceased brother who almost clocked 50 as an “out-of-the-box thinker”
He wrote, “My immediate younger brother, Olajide Sowore was today shot and killed near Okada in Edo state by reportedly herdsmen /kidnappers on his way from Igbinedion University in Edo sate where he is studying Pharmacy.
“They snuffed out the life yet another real human being!
“Rest In Power, “Dr. Mamiye!”
“This act in itself will not delay their day of justice.
“I travelled widely with you and our father as a little kid. You were the most loved robust kid I ever first knew. You, Mr. magnet had no enemy!
“You, Mr. Sunshine Foundation who made everyone happy.
“You, the boy who snuck out his older ones to parties, taking all the blames when our disciplinarian father found out.
“You, the guy who was an out-of-the-box thinker who decided school wasn’t for you and created you own genre of music and then turned around to go to school after you almost turned 50!
“You lived your life so that everyone could be alright but now assassinated by everything that’s not alright!
“Saddest day yet!”
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