John McAfee, an antivirus software creator indicted in the US on fraud charges, has been arrested at Barcelona airport, a Spanish police source said yesterday.
He was detained on Saturday as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a British passport, the source said, adding that he would be transferred to Madrid to face an extradition process.
US federal prosecutors in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday unsealed an indictment against McAfee over charges that he evaded taxes and willfully failed to file returns.
That came after the US Securities and Exchange Commission said that it had brought civil charges against McAfee, alleging he made more than US$23.1 million in undisclosed compensation from false and misleading cryptocurrency recommendations.
He is alleged to have earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, as well as through consulting work, speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.
Online court records do not show whether McAfee has a lawyer to speak on his behalf about the charges.
McAfee developed early Internet security software, and has been sought by authorities in the US and Belize in the past.
The federal indictment said that McAfee failed to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018, despite receiving “considerable income” from several sources.
The indictment does not allege that McAfee received any income or had any connection with the antivirus software company bearing his name during those years, prosecutors said.
McAfee evaded taxes by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency accounts in the names of others, the indictment said.
McAfee hid assets from the US Internal Revenue Service — including real estate, a vehicle and a yacht — in the names of others, prosecutors said.
If convicted of all charges, McAfee could face up to 30 years in prison.
McAfee was released from detention in the Dominican Republic in July last year after he and five others were suspected of traveling on a yacht carrying high-caliber weapons, ammunition and military-style equipment, officials in the Caribbean Island said at the time.
Additional reporting by AP
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