HAVANA (Reuters) – On the run from U.S. tax authorities, tech guru John McAfee puffs a cigar aboard his towering white yacht in a Havana harbor and says he may also help Cuba evade the U.S. authorities too – by launching a cryptocurrency that defeats a U.S. commerce embargo.
John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Staff and CEO of Luxcore and founding father of McAfee Antivirus, leaves his yacht on the Marina Hemingway in Havana, Cuba, July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
The creator of the eponymous antivirus software program within the 1980s, McAfee in an interview touted the anonymity of the digital forex whereas additionally outlining his perception that earnings tax is prohibited and plans to run from Cuba for the Libertarian Social gathering nomination for U.S. president.
“It will be trivial to get across the U.S. authorities’s embargo by using a intelligent system of forex,” the 73-year-old mentioned Thursday. “So I made a proper supply to assist them without cost … on a non-public channel by Twitter.”
Whereas Cuba had not responded, its Communist authorities mentioned earlier this week it was finding out the potential use of cryptocurrency to alleviate an financial disaster aggravated by tighter U.S. sanctions underneath President Donald Trump.
Nations underneath U.S. sanctions reminiscent of Iran and Venezuela have floated the thought of utilizing digital forex to commerce though no scheme seems to have gotten off the bottom.
“You may’t simply create a coin and anticipate it to fly. It’s important to base it on the right blockchain, have it structured such that it meets the particular wants of a rustic or financial state of affairs,” mentioned McAfee.
“There are in all probability lower than 10 folks on this planet who know the way to try this and I’m actually one among them.”
With him on the yacht are his spouse, 4 massive canines, two safety guards and 7 employees for his marketing campaign “in exile” for the Libertarian Social gathering presidential nomination, McAfee mentioned. He beforehand ran in 2016 and got here in a distant third.
McAfee mentioned he didn’t pay earnings tax for eight years for ideological causes and was indicted. The Inner Income Service declined remark.
To keep away from trial, he left the USA in January for the Bahamas. He arrived in Cuba a month in the past after suspecting that U.S. legislation enforcement was making an attempt to extradite him from the Bahamas.
McAfee is nothing if not colourful. His previous contains fleeing Belize the place he lived for a number of years after police sought him for questioning within the 2012 homicide of a neighbor, assembly his spouse, Janice McAfee, when she solicited him as a prostitute whereas he was on the run and saying on Twitter final 12 months that he has fathered 47 kids.
The cybersecurity knowledgeable mentioned he hopes to increase his Cuban customer visa indefinitely, breaking a U.S. ban on leisure vessels visiting the island imposed final month in addition to journey restrictions.
McAfee plans to make use of social media, the place he has 1 million followers on Twitter, to marketing campaign for the Libertarian nomination. 1000’s of volunteers carrying masks depicting his face will marketing campaign for him again residence and overseas, he mentioned.
He believes Cuba would by no means extradite him to the USA. Each Cuba and the USA have a historical past of offering refuge to people wished by the opposite nation for crimes with political overtones, in keeping with lawyer Pedro Freyre.
But cooperation on legal enforcement improved since a 2014 detente. Cuba final 12 months extradited a U.S. citizen accused of murdering his girlfriend.
Neither the Cuban authorities nor the U.S. Justice Division replied to a request for remark.
“They only wish to put me in jail and never let me converse once more,” mentioned McAfee. “I’m not going to permit that as a result of I’ve an excessive amount of to say.”
Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Modifying by Cynthia Osterman