Spain’s National Court said Wednesday it had approved the extradition of antivirus software pioneer John McAfee to the United States where he is wanted for tax evasion.
The court’s decision to extradite the 75-year-old, who was arrested at Barcelona airport, can be appealed but must also be approved by the Spanish cabinet before it can take place.
“The court agrees to grant the extradition of John David McAfee as requested by the American judicial authorities for the crimes referred to in the tax offence indictments for years 2016 to 2018,” said the 16-page ruling dated Monday.
McAfee is alleged to have deliberately failed to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, despite earning millions from consulting work, crypto-currencies and selling the rights to his life story.
If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.
According to the US extradition request filed in November and quoted in the ruling, McAfee earned more than 10 million euros over that period but never filed a tax return.
“From 2014 to 2018, the defendant earned more than 10 million euros in income and therefore accumulated millions of dollars in tax liabilities. He did not file tax returns during any of those years,” it said.
“To conceal his income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service… the defendant ordered part of his income to be paid to straw men and placed property in their names.”
The Spanish court decision only referred to offences that took place between 2016 and 2018.
When he was arrested in Barcelona on October 3, 2020, McAfee was about to board a flight to Istanbul.
His arrest came a day after the US indictment was made public, although it had been issued in June.
Since making a fortune with his eponymous antivirus software in the 1980s that still bears his name, McAfee has become a self-styled crypto-currency guru, claiming to make $2,000 a day.
He has more than one million followers on Twitter.
In a tweet on June 16, he said the US authorities believed he had “hidden crypto. I wish I did” he said.
“My remaining assets are all seized. My friends evaporated through fear of association. I have nothing. Yet, I regret nothing.”
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