Fugitive McAfee seeks asylum in Guatemala

Summary:McAfee, wanted for questioning over the murder of his neighbour last month in Belize, is seeking political asylum in Guatemala, according to his lawyer.

In a plotline worthy of a Hollywood thriller, antivirus company founder John McAfee went on the run from his home on the idyllic Belize paradise island of Ambergris Caye hours after his neighbour Gregory Faull was murdered on November 11.

Accompanied by his 20-year-old girlfriend Sam Vanega, the multimillionaire crossed the border into Guatemala over the weekend and secured the services of star lawyer Telesforo Guerra, a former Guatemalan attorney general.

"I have to manage his political asylum," Guerra told AFP after meeting McAfee early on Tuesday at a hotel in Guatemala City.

McAfee "is persecuted in Belize, persecuted politically because he stopped financing the government. They accuse him of a common crime. So what I have to obtain is an authorisation of asylum," the lawyer said.

Guerra said that McAfee fears he may be assassinated, because he helped and supported the current government in Belize, which now wants more money — and which, according to McAfee's lawyer, it will pocket and not invest in the nation.

McAfee, who maintains his innocence, has left a confusing and often contradictory trail of information about his life on the run on his blog, whoismcafee.com.

"It was not easy to exit Belize and required many supporters in many countries," he wrote on Tuesday.

Before fleeing south into Guatemala, he put out a false report saying that he had been captured near the northern Mexican border, and claimed to have sent a "double" with a North Korean passport to Mexico as another decoy.

Internet users tracked a photo from a magazine on Monday to Guatemala, but McAfee initially claimed to have encrypted it to throw police off the scent.

"I apologise for all of the misdirections over the past few days," McAfee said.

He said that the coordinates were accidentally released by someone at Vice magazine's headquarters.

Vice magazine's article on Tuesday had a photo showing Guerra and McAfee having breakfast and claiming that Sam, McAfee's partner, is actually the lawyer's niece.

"I have known Samantha for a year and a half. She is a remarkable young woman. I love her very much and we are getting married," McAfee is quoted as telling Guerra.

"Unfortunately, you will have a potential criminal in the family. My apologies for that, and I will do the best I can to make it up to you," he added, reportedly prompting an amused response from Guerra.

Police claim that Faull, a 52-year-old Florida ex-pat, was discovered by his housekeeper with a 9mm slug in his head, lying in a pool of his own blood.

Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow has described McAfee as "bonkers," saying that he is only wanted for questioning as a "person of interest" in the case, and urging him to give himself up.

McAfee decamped to Belize in 2009 after losing an estimated US$96 million (AU$92.52 million) of his US$100 million fortune due to bad investments and the global financial crisis.

Topics: Security

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.