Cybersecurity Magnate John McAfee Arrested in Spain, Facing Extradition to the US

McAfee faces as long as five years in prison if convicted of tax evasion and a year if found guilty of failing to file taxes.

John McAfee, the antivirus software magnate and former Libertarian presidential candidate, has been arrested in Spain and indicted on charges of tax evasion by the US Department of Justice (DoJ). He is now awaiting extradition to the United States, the DoJ said. The full indictment released on Tuesday accuses McAfee of dodging taxes through various means, including using other people's names.

McAfee founded the software company McAfee Associates in 1987 and ran it until 1994, when he resigned from the company. Over the years McAfee is accused of amassing massive wealth but avoiding paying the taxes by not taking his income in his bank account.

Arrested and Indicted

John McAfee
John McAfee Wikimedia Commons

McAfee is accused of willfully concealing incomes from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and hiding assets including real estate, a vehicle and a yacht in the name of others, prosecutors said. The June 15, 2020 indictment was unsealed following McAfee's arrest in Spain where he is pending extradition, prosecutors said.

Interestingly, none of the properties that were discovered were in his own name. However, the amount McAfee owes was not specified in the indictment.

Moreover, McAfee is also being indicted for willfully failing to file tax returns from 2014 through 2018. If convicted, McAfee faces up to five years in prison for each of the five counts of tax evasion, and up to one year in prison for each of the five counts of failing to file a tax return.

Perennial Offender

McAfee was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for not revealing that Twitter paid him more than $23 million in Bitcoin to promote initial coin offerings (ICOs) on Twitter between December and January in 2018 Pixabay

This is the latest among a series of legal complication for the software mogul who was a person of interest in a murder in Belize. However, he was not charged with a crime. Last year, he was also detained in the Dominican Republic for entering the country with a cache of firearms.

The indictment was unsealed just hours after McAfee was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for not disclosing that he was paid to promote initial coin offerings (ICOs) on Twitter from December 2018 to January 2018, despite allegedly being paid more than $23 million in Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency Ether to do so. The complaint alleges that McAfee made other false and misleading statements, such as claiming that he had personally invested in some of the ICOs and that he was advising certain issuers.

McAfee has been arrested 22 times in the past 10 years. He was also briefly a candidate for president in this year's U.S. election, ending his run from abroad in March.