Outlaw antivirus pioneer John McAfee, who died by suicide in his prison cell on Wednesday, had been hiding out for years in a secret Spanish "ghost hotel", according to reports. The hideout was reportedly owned by a Russian who allegedly used it to run a secret bitcoin farm, new reports claim.
The revelation about McAfee's real hideout comes only after his death as he had been bluffing about his locations while on the run. The paranoid 75-year-old tycoon would repeatedly send out messages that he was in numerous places across the globe, including Belarus and Norway but now it seems he was in Spain all throughout till his arrest.
His Secret Home
Although McAfee had been bluffing and giving out multiple locations of his stay in order to mislead the authorities, web sleuths were constantly analyzing his images and messages. On one occasion the disgraced tech tycoon even lied about being arrested for wearing a thong as a mask.
However, it has now been traced that McAfee had been hiding out in a mysterious hotel in Cambrils in Catalonia, according to the New York Post. He appeared to be hiding in the hotel from March 2020 until his arrest in October, and was busted by amateur sleuths who spotted Spanish products and images of the Catalonian coast in his photos on Twitter.
The mysterious hotel as McAfee's hideout was first reported by Spanish newspaper El Confidencial after his arrest last October. The outlet got numerous tips — from images of beaches to Spanish products in his photos — and tried to establish that McAfee stayed at the Daurada Park Hotel. The outlet called it a "ghost hotel" where no one answers the phone and it is impossible to make reservations.
The Daurada isn't that popular but is a lavish place. However, the last TripAdvisor reviews for the hotel were posted in late 2016 and are quite negative. One reviewer even compared it to 'the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King's the Shining' and a 'Spanish version of hotel California'.
It isn't know why McAfee chose this hotel but web sleuths and investigations but local media outlets claim that it was a place for the notorious and McAfee wouldn't have found a safer hideout. The hotel came under suspicion from local officials after a huge laser pointing at the sky was built on the roof soon after it was bought by an unidentified Russian businessman, the Diari de Tarragona had reported.
In 2018, Spanish police reportedly raided the hotel after rumors circulated that it was being used as a brothel. However, they didn't any prostitute at the hotel when they reached. Instead, what they found surprised them. Instead of prostitution, the hotel was operating a large Bitcoin mining operation in the basement and parking garages, according to Diari de Tarragona.
Officers reportedly found a set of computers in the basement and with "mining" activity in progress on the internet, the outlet had reported. It was then revealed that the rooftop laser was apparently a ploy to explain the huge energy use of the computers in the basement, which earned Bitcoin by processing transactions.
That said, it's not known if anyone was arrested or charged at that time. McAfee's connection to the hotel was exposed by amateur web sleuths on Twitter. However, most of them now have their accounts suspended. But despite being synonymous with online security, the web sleuths found McAfee through a series of simple slip-ups, El Confidencial reported.
The proof of McAfee hiding there was in the form of his numerous photos on beaches and balconies matching Google Maps images of the mysterious hotel. Some photos also showed him being surrounded by Spanish products, which he claimed to have been taken more than 1,750 miles away in Belarus, the outlet had reported.
When McAfee was later confronted about the inconsistencies, he ahd lashed out on Twitter, claiming that he had "visited Spain for a few days." But it appears McAfee used the mystery hotel as his base of operations for months before his arrest on charges of tax evasion last October.