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McAfee software founder arrested by Spanish police over tax evasion

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John McAfee pictured in 2012 on his mobile phone in the South Beach area of Miami.
John McAfee pictured in 2012 on his mobile phone in the South Beach area of Miami.   -   Copyright  Alan Diaz/AP
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John McAfee, the American founder of McAfee anti-virus software, has been arrested by Spanish police at Barcelona airport.

The 75-year-old entrepreneur was wanted by the United States for tax evasion and was detained as he boarded a flight to Turkey, Spanish police say.

He is currently in custody near Barcelona awaiting extradition.

The arrest comes one day after a US prosecutor issued an indictment against McAfee for failing to declare millions of dollars in revenue from the promotion of (virtual) crypto-currencies, consultancy services, and rights sold for a documentary to be made about his life.

The indictment says McAfee failed to meet his tax obligations between 2014 and 2018 and allegedly had his income deposited into bank and crypto-currency accounts in the name of others to evade taxation.

The businessman also allegedly hid assets, including real estate, a yacht, and a car, in other people's names.

Online court records do not show whether McAfee has a lawyer to speak on his behalf about the charges, and he has not publicly commented on the charges.

US authorities had issued an arrest warrant through Interpol to request his extradition. If convicted of all charges, McAfee could face up to 30 years in prison.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has also brought civil charges against McAfee, alleging he was paid more than $23 million (€19.5 million) in digital assets for "essentially worthless" promotions.

John McAfee made a fortune in the 1980s with his eponymous internet antivirus software in the 1980s but has recently become embroiled in numerous controversies.

In July 2019, he was released from detention in the Dominican Republic, after he and five others were suspected of traveling on a yacht carrying high-caliber weapons, ammunition, and military-style gear.