The wild man of cryptocurrency – John McAfee – is officially on the run from US authorities who last night indicted him, his wife, and four members of his staff for tax fraud.
The gifted software developer behind the anti-virus software of the same name, has been one of the biggest names in cryptocurrency since the birth of Bitcoin a decade ago.
He makes no secret of his disdain for taxes, often taking to Twitter to vent his ire towards the authorities. And, in a Coin Rivet article for the Daily Express, that’s exactly how he hit back yesterday after being told the US government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had convened a grand jury to lay down charges against him, his wife Janice and four members of his 2020 US presidential election campaign.
He responded sternly to the charges. Speaking from his yacht he claimed the US government was deliberately targeting him as “one of the tallest trees in the forest”.
It is believed the 73-year-old and his entourage were anchored off the coast of Venezuela aboard their luxury yacht, from where he described the situation as being “at war”.
“For two years I’ve been speaking around the world and making videos about the fact that, at some point, cryptocurrency will come head-to-head with governments. Why? Because when privacy coins are widely used, governments will no longer be able to collect income taxes,” he said.
“Governments will have to shrink and find new means, and I’ve always said this is a good thing.
“And I’ve also said we will at some point be at war – we are today at war.”
He also explained the reason behind the IRS charges which, he believes are entirely down to one of his pet hates – tax.
“I have not paid taxes for eight years,” he confessed last night.
“I’ve made no secret of it. I have not filed returns.
“Every year I tell the IRS I’m not filing a return – I have no intention of doing so – come and find me, it’s not illegal.
“Today, the IRS has convened a grand jury in the state of Tennessee to charge myself, my wife Mrs McAfee, and four of my campaign workers with unspecified crimes of a felonious nature.”
As yet the IRS has not disclosed details of the charges, but it is understood they relate to several millions of dollars in unpaid returns backdated to 2010.
A characteristically defiant McAfee vowed to be on the run for as long as it takes, and issued a rallying cry for support from the cryptocurrency world.
He declared: “They want to silence me. I will not allow that. I am running my campaign from this boat for the duration.
“I will not allow them to imprison me and shut my voice down which they will do immediately. Why? Because I am a flight risk – I am in flight.
“Today, crypto community, we are at war and I am on the front lines.”
It’s not the first time the firebrand software developer has been on the run. In 2012 he was named as ‘a person of interest’ by Belizean police following the murder of his neighbour Gregory Viant Faull who died of a gunshot wound. McAfee fled his home there when officers attempted to question him. Weeks later, he tried to claim political asylum in Guatemala.
The authorities in Belize have since not sought to prosecute or charge McAfee as a suspect in the murder, and even auctioned off his abandoned possessions shortly before his home in the tiny Caribbean nation burned down in suspicious circumstances.
Last night, McAfee also described how he and his boat crew had made land before heading to the nearest US embassy to seek clarification over the indictment.
“Yesterday, in entering these waters, we declared 20 firearms to a third world government,” he said.
“However, they were nice and polite – they allowed us to keep three, and they’re keeping the others until we leave.
“We went to the US embassy today. I was not allowed inside. A man named Peter who refused to give me a card or even a last name talked to me in a parking lot.”
Venting his frustration at the situation, he declared the US government’s quest to bring him in should be considered as an historic act of revolution.
“Every so often, and very rarely, a clash of old and new cultures brought about by technology changes civilisation,” he said.
“Cryptocurrencies are one of these technologies, and probably the most dramatic to have occurred in human history since the invention of fire.
Yoke of currency
“Why? Because cryptocurrencies free the individual from the yoke of currency controlled by governments which control us and our lives.
“Now, cryptocurrency is coming – it’s out of the box and privacy coins are here. Governments can see what’s coming and it terrifies them. Governments will not be able to collect taxes when everyone is using privacy coins.
“Governments will disappear as we know them because they will not be able to fund their excess. It’s a good thing. For the first time in human history it will be given financial freedom.
“I am being cut down as one of the tallest trees in the forest.”