McAfee was facing tax evasion charges in the U.S. that could have put him in jail for 30 years.
MADRID, Spain — John McAfee, the creator of the McAfee antivirus software, has been found dead in his cell in a jail near Barcelona, a government official told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Hours earlier, a Spanish court issued a preliminary ruling in favor of his extradition to the United States to face tax-related criminal charges.
Security personnel at the Brians 2 penitentiary near the northeastern Spanish city tried to revive McAfee, who was 75, but the jail’s medical team finally certified his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.
The statement didn’t identify the U.S. tycoon by name, but said he was a 75-year-old U.S. citizen awaiting extradition to the country. A Catalan government source familiar with the event who was not authorized to be named in media reports confirmed to the AP that the dead man was McAfee.
The decision can be appealed and the final extradition will need to be approved by the Spanish Cabinet.
Tennessee prosecutors charged 75-year-old McAfee with evading taxes after failing to report income made from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did consultancy work, as well as income from speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.
The charges refer to the three fiscal years from 2016 to 2018, according to the Spanish court’s ruling on Wednesday.
The entrepreneur was arrested last October at Barcelona’s international airport. A judge ordered at that time that McAfee should be held in jail while awaiting the outcome of a hearing on extradition.
In a hearing held via videolink earlier this month, McAfee argued that the charges against him were politically motivated and said he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he was returned to the U.S.
This is a developing story, and will be updated as details develop.