John McAfee: What happened in the software giant’s death cell?


Barcelona (Spain) – The software developer John McAfee († 75) stewed for eight months in the Spanish jail “Brian’s 2”. This week, Spain’s judiciary decided to extradite it to the United States. There he faced up to 30 years imprisonment for fraud and tax evasion. The multimillionaire was found dead in his cell on Wednesday. Suicide?

Read all about the unique justice case, a scary tweet from 2019 and the turbulent life of the British-American daredevil and what the eccentric’s lawyer and wife have to say.



September 2015 in the US state of Alabama: bon vivant John McAfee announces his candidacy for the presidency in his usual casual posePhoto: Todd J. Van Emst / AP

“Crazy” is a word that is often used when it comes to John McAfee. In the 80s he was one of the first computer virus hunters, got rich and made headlines as a daredevil.

Small sample? For example, John McAfee’s bet from June 2017 was quite provocative. Back then, he said that if a Bitcoin was not worth “at least $ 500,000” by 2020, he would “eat his own cock on national television”.

Was the daredevil actually a suicide? The cause of death has not yet been determined without any doubt, but the Spanish authorities “apparently” assume suicide. An autopsy is supposed to provide certainty.

“You tried to wipe him out”

Now McAfee’s attorney Nishay Sanan from Chicago, Illinois, spoke up. Sanan said over the phone that McAfee “will always be remembered as a fighter.”

Attorney Sanan continued: “He tried to love this country, but the US government made his existence impossible. They tried to wipe him out, but they failed. ”The lawyer said the Spanish authorities had not disclosed the cause of death to his team and he wanted to know if there were video cameras in McAfee’s cell or in prison.

“I didn’t kill myself – I was murdered”

The eccentric software giant was still combative in November 2019. At that time, he tweeted that the US authorities were planning his death and wanted to make it look like suicide. That’s why McAfee used the mafia word “WHACKD” (murdered) as a tattoo on his right upper arm.

So what happened on Wednesday afternoon in the cell of the prominent prisoner? All that is known so far is that the security personnel tried to resuscitate him. But the prison’s medical team finally confirmed his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.

And further: “A judicial delegation has arrived to investigate the cause of death. Everything points to a suicide. “


McAfee died in a cell at Brians 2 Detention Center.  The building is about 30 km northwest of Barcelona

McAfee died in a cell at Brians 2 Detention Center. The building is about 30 km northwest of BarcelonaPhoto: Joan Mateu / AP

Hours earlier, the Spanish Supreme Court had given the go-ahead for the 75-year-old to be extradited to the United States. In an extradition hearing, McAfee said the allegations against him were politically motivated. He said he would spend the rest of his life in prison should he actually be extradited.


John McAfee during a video hearing on June 15, 2021

John McAfee during a video hearing on June 15, 2021Photo: Chema Moya / AP

“You have decided to let him die in prison”

John McAfee’s wife Janice spoke up last Sunday. For Father’s Day, she tweeted about John’s imprisonment. This would attack him mentally and physically. Then she charges: “Now the US authorities have decided to let him die in prison. You want to make an example of him because he criticized the corruption within the government authorities. “

Who Was John McAfee? Here are the most important stations in the life of the late software millionaire.

Coke and booze

McAfee was a co-founder of the antivirus industry. In the 1980s, he founded the company named after him, McAfee, and became a software millionaire.

Before his great career, McAfee’s life was extremely difficult: he grew up an only child in a broken household with an abusive and alcoholic father who took his own life when he was 15, McAfee told a reporter for Wired magazine . At times he used large amounts of cocaine and alcohol.

Sex man and gun fanatic

Even as an entrepreneur, McAfee tended to make a grand entrance. Shortly after the company was founded, he stuffed a motor home full of computers and drove it to customers.

This “mobile anti-virus unit” was supposed to impress them, but it was more of a show, as McAfee later admitted. Years later, McAfee ended up in Belize, Central America, where he built a large gated property, bragged about young lovers and prostitutes, and ultimately was found raided for possessing banned weapons.

Murder and escape

After McAfee’s company went public in the 1990s, he left the company. His fortune was then at times estimated at more than $ 100 million.

The “Business Insider” describes the working environment in the company at that time as a kind of sect and quotes McAfee’s former PR manager Mark Coker. His ex-boss was a “genius, but also completely paranoid”.

McAfee’s dissolute lifestyle and bad investments in the financial crisis of 2008 ensured that only a fraction of his mountain of money remained.

McAfee hit the headlines in Belize in 2012 when he was searched for after murdering a neighbor and escaped police through the jungle. As the “Business Insider” reports, McAfee is said to have intimidated his neighbors in the small town of San Pedro with an entourage of armed guards and attack dogs. Neighbor Gregory Faull dared to complain to McAfee and was threatened with a gun. Then the attack dogs were poisoned by McAfee. Just a few days later, the body of Gregory Faull was found in his living room – executed by a headshot.

McAfee is still considered the prime suspect behind the murder of Gregory Faull. But the Belize police were unable to produce any evidence against him.


Billionaire and Lebeman: McAfee on his yacht off Havana (2019)

Multimillionaire and bon vivant: McAfee on his yacht off Havana (2019)Photo: ADALBERTO ROQUE / AFP

Security and Politics

After his escape from Central America, John McAfee tried to gain a foothold again with several projects in the USA. In 2016 he tried to use the McAfee name for a new security company, but was prevented from doing so by Intel in court.

The anti-virus software McAfee, which is still popular today, belonged to the chip giant Intel for several years before it ended up in the portfolio of a financial investor group in 2016.

Attempts to make a political career came to nothing. As a libertarian, he wanted to run for president. However, a critical documentary by filmmaker Nanette Burstein about McAfee and his possible involvement in Belize nipped political ambitions in the bud.

Fraud and jail

In 2020, McAfee was arrested in Spain after the US judiciary accused him of not filing tax returns for several years.

According to the indictment, the software pioneer made millions from advertising cryptocurrencies, advising, speaking and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

He tried to circumvent the tax office with the methods of money launderers.

► McAfee said he paid millions in taxes and was only arrested on political grounds for daring to denounce corruption with the United States Federal Tax Service (IRS).

► He also criticized the traditional monetary system and questioned the role of central banks such as the Federal Reserve in managing the money supply.

However, the Spanish court saw no evidence of political persecution and granted the request for extradition …

Depressive? You can get immediate help here

As a rule, BILD does not report suicides in order to avoid creating an incentive for imitation – unless suicides receive special attention due to the circumstances.

If you are depressed yourself or have suicidal thoughts, please contact the telephone counseling immediately (www.telefonseelsorge.de).

On the free hotline 0800-1110111 or 0800-1110222 you can get help from advisors who can point out ways out of difficult situations.

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