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John McAfee Obtains Leave To Remain In Guatemala

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The eccentric millionaire will stay in the country until his appeal against deportation is settled

Security software pioneer John McAfee, who is wanted in Belize in connection with the murder of his neighbour and fellow American Gregory Faull, has obtained the right to stay in Guatemala while he appeals against deportation.

The process could take several months.

McAfee has evaded Belizean authorities since the middle of November, hiding in the jungle and using disguises. He has denied killing Faull and told the media that he believed he was the original assassination target. He also said that he wouldn’t contact the authorities for fear that Belize’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), which has raided his home in the past, would torture him into confession.

On Sunday, John McAfee said that he wants to return to the US and “settle down”.

The Guatemala holiday

McAfee entered Guatemala last Wednesday, hoping to rest and hold a press-conference. However, upon arrival he was detained by Immigration police for entering the country illegally.

On Thursday, he lost consciousness while being held in a Guatemala City immigration facility, with some sources hinting at a possible heart attack. However, McAfee himself later blamed his weakness on hunger, dehydration and chain-smoking.

The Guatemala government has denied the millionaire’s initial application for asylum, and said it plans to return him to Belize. In response, McAfee has launched two separate appeals and a petition, claiming that his request wasn’t given proper consideration. The papers were filed by his lawyer Telesforo Guerra, former attorney general of Guatemala and the uncle of his 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha.

Now, the local authorities have no choice but to wait until the courts make a decision on whether McAfee can be extradited. “We are filing a series of papers with the court to attempt to keep me here long enough for the world to see the injustice of sending me back to Belize,” said McAfee on Sunday.

He has previously accused Belizean authorities of corruption and even suggested he would be killed if returned to the country. The 67-year-old has said that he wants to return to the US or even move to the UK. “I simply would like to live comfortably day by day, fish, swim, enjoy my declining years,” he told the media.

The company founded by John McAfee is now owned by Intel, and remains the second largest security software vendor in the world. After leaving the IT industry, McAfee’s behaviour had become increasingly erratic. It has been reported that he assembled an extensive collection of guns, was researching mind-altering substances and claimed to have connections with a number of well-known gang members in Belize.

While on the run, McAfee has used the blog www.whoismcafee.com to tell his story. Since Friday, Harold M, someone who describes himself as “a close friend of Mr McAfee”, has started posting “proof” of corruption in the Belize government, writing about the conduct of the GSU and McAfee’s relationship with the criminal underworld.

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