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Internet Mogul McAfee Held in Guatemala After Fleeing Belize

December 06, 2012

Internet Mogul McAfee Arrested in Guatemala

John McAfee answers questions from journalists in front of the Supreme Court in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on Dec. 04, 2012. Photographer: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images

Internet entrepreneur John McAfee, wanted for questioning in the shooting of a neighbor in Belize, was arrested by Guatemalan police after a month on the run.

Authorities detained McAfee yesterday for illegally entering the country and a judge will determine whether to deport him, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Karla Herrera said by telephone. A post on McAfee’s blog today said that he is fighting his return to Belize and has sought help from the American Embassy to be sent to the U.S.

His detention follows a chase by authorities that McAfee, 67, documented in updates to Wired magazine and on his own website and Twitter account. He said he previously avoided capture by burying himself in sand and altering his appearance.

Belize police searched his home on the island of Ambergris Caye on Nov. 11 after the murder of neighbor Gregory Faull, a 52-year-old contractor and Florida native. Belize’s government hasn’t heard from Guatemalan authorities about the arrest and has no interest in seeking extradition because McAfee hasn’t been charged with a crime, Raphael Martinez, a spokesman for the National Security Ministry, said in a telephone interview today.

“As far as we’re concerned, he’s not a criminal,” Martinez said. “We just want to question him.”

McAfee and his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend met with a lawyer in the capital Guatemala City, Vice magazine, which has had a reporter traveling with McAfee, said Dec. 4 on its website.

Seeking Asylum

McAfee sought asylum in Guatemala, according to an Associated Press report today. Interpol agents assisted in the arrest, the AP said, citing Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla.

In an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West” this week, McAfee said he was being sought in a political vendetta after he didn’t donate enough money to the government.

McAfee relocated to Belize in 2008 after his $100 million fortune was reduced to $4 million following a series of failed investments in property, real estate and bonds at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., according to a 2009 article in the New York Times.

Intel Corp. (INTC:US) agreed to buy McAfee Inc. for $7.68 billion, at the time its largest acquisition, in 2010.

McAfee spokeswoman Tracy Ross said Nov. 12 the company doesn’t comment on former employees, and the founder of the anti-virus software maker “retired from McAfee in 1994, and has not had any affiliation with the company since then.”

McAfee said in a letter published in Wired last month that he was afraid to turn himself in to authorities in Belize. The country is a “pirate haven” where “the list of people who died while in the custody of Belizean police would fill a phone book from an average American town,” he wrote.

McAfee was described by Martinez last month as “a person of interest” in Faull’s killing. The two Americans had a conflict that was believed to be linked to McAfee’s dogs, Martinez said at the time. Faull was found dead Nov. 11 with a bullet wound in the back of his head.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Sabo in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at

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