John McAfee arrested and charged with tax evasion

A shot of the retail section of Barcelona-El Prat Airport from above, with passengers walking around with
(Image credit: Barcelona-El Prat Airport, where McAfee was arrested. Credit: Shutterstock)

The founder of the renowned computer security software company McAfee has been arrested at Barcelona airport and is facing extradition to the US.

According to the unsealed indictment, John McAfee is accused of evading taxes and willfully failing to file returns between 2014 and 2018.

A source told Reuters that he was detained over the weekend as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul with a British passport. Instead of travelling to Turkey, he is to be transferred to Madrid to face an extradition process.

If found guilty, the antivirus founder faces up to five years in prison for each of the five counts of tax evasion, as well as up to one year for each of the five counts of failing to file a tax return.

He is also being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not disclosing that he was paid $23 million (around £18 million) in cryptocurrencies to promote initial coin offerings on Twitter.

This isn't McAfee’s first run-in with the law. In 2012, while residing in Belize, he allegedly hired a hitman to kill his neighbour Gregory Faull. He then faked a heart attack in order to buy time for his attorney to file a series of appeals to prevent his deportation.

Last year, based on a wrongful death lawsuit by Faull's daughter, he was ordered by a Florida judge to pay $25 million (£19 million) in damages. The story also became the subject of a 2016 Showtime documentary.

Also in 2019, McAfee announced (for the second time) that he was going on the run from US tax and financial enforcement authorities. Taking to his so-called "Freedom Boat", with a large collection of alcohol and automatic weapons, he embarked on a tour of the Caribbean.

According to McAfee, he was being pursued by multiple government agencies, including the SEC, the Internal Revenue Service, and the CIA.

At the time, McAfee was also running in the 2020 US presidential election. His time on the run was cut short when his campaign manager Rob Loggia confirmed that McAfee and his entourage had been "detained by [US] authorities at their latest port of call". However, that did not stop him from escaping the US yet again.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.