Founder of the company behind the popular McAfee antivirus, John McAfee, died on 23rd June 2021 in a Barcelona prison where he was being held. John was 75 at his death, which happened as he was awaiting extradition to the US to face tax evasion charges.
Spanish authorities and his lawyer have confirmed that the software mogul died by hanging, after 9 months in prison. This is the end of the journey of life for a somewhat strange man whose life was was dotted with both brilliance and and immense controversy.
McAfee Vs McAfee
In 2014, Intel announced that they were rebranding the McAfee antivirus name to Intel Security, all this in a bid to cut association with controversial activities involving the founder. John McAfee had in the previous year posted a video of himself uninstalling the McAfee antivirus, which went viral. The video features guns, profane language, and drugs.
This video was most likely the very occurrence that motivated Intel to go for the software rebrand. In his response through the BBC, John McAfee said he was pleased by their decision and that he was now released from “this terrible association with the worst software on the planet”
He would later go on to sue Intel, when they warned him not to use his name to start a new Cybersecurity company, as this would have led to trademark infringement. This case was later dismissed and he agreed to a settlement that included not using the McAfee name on any of his new cybersecurity products or services.
McAfee vs Authorities
McAfee, who had been on the run from United Stated authorities for years, was detained in October of 2020 at the Barcelona airport on his way to Istanbul. In 2019, he stated that his reason for not paying income taxes in the US for about 8 years was based on ideological reasons. It is in the same year that he also fled to live on a mega-yacht with his family to avoid trial.
Mr. McAfee had in interviews before claimed that he faced political persecution for speaking loudly against corruption in the Internal Revenue Service(IRS) and opposing the fiat money system, in which central banks like the Federal Reserve control the money supply.
In March of 2021, prosecutors opened a case where McAfee had also been charged alongside his bodyguard over securities fraud in a cryptocurrency scheme. They allegedly conducted this on social media between 2017 and 2018, promoting coins like Reddcoin and Dogecoin (now popularized and associated with Elon Musk).
“The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives.” Read a statement from the US attorney.
McAfee would allegedly buy large quantities beforehand using bitcoin, then offload them again after his followers had driven up the price. He was a prolific Twitter user indeed, with a verified account totaling over a million followers. He once revealed that he charges $105,000 (Approx. KES. 12M) for each tweet he sent out promoting digital coins or initial coin offerings (ICO).
In his last public tweet on June 18, McAfee wrote: In a democracy, power is given not taken. But it is still power…Take care which powers you allow democracy to wield.”