Software mogul John McAfee arrested on US tax evasion charges

Controversial tech millionaire John McAfee has been arrested in Spain on US charges of tax evasion.

The anti-virus mogul, who founded software company McAfee, allegedly failed to file tax returns despite earning millions from promoting cryptocurrencies, speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

Read more: EU removes Cayman Islands from ‘tax haven’ blacklist

McAfee faces extradition to the US and up to 30 years in prison. The charges are not related to income from the software company that bears his name.

In a statement the US justice department alleged that between 2014 and 2018 the software mogul evaded his tax liability by having his income paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees.

In addition, US prosecutors alleged that McAfee attempted to dodge tax by concealing assets including real estate and a yacht.

It comes after the US Security and Exchange Commission charged the eccentric businessman with fraudulently touting initial coin offerings (ICO) for several cryptocurrencies.

The regulator said McAfee had promoted multiple ICOs on Twitter, allegedly pretending to be impartial even though he was paid more than $23m (£18m) in digital assets for doing so.

McAfee’s bodyguard Jimmy Watson was also charged for his role in the alleged scheme.

The SEC said it was seeking civil penalties and the return of “allegedly ill-gotten gains”, as well as barring McAfee from serving as a director for a public company.

McAfee has not yet commented on any of the charges.

It is not the first time the British-born entrepreneur has had a run-in with law enforcement.

The outspoken tech titan has launched two unsuccessful attempts to become the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, while he has also been vocal in his disdain for taxes.

Read more: Rishi Sunak signals that tax hikes will be delayed for some time

McAfee also hit the headlines in 2012 when he was named as a person of interest in a police investigation into the murder of his neighbour in Belize.

He fled the country, saying he was concerned about his own safety, but has always denied any involvement in the killing.

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