U.S. anti-virus software guru John McAfee, who is on the run from police
in Belize seeking to question him in a murder probe, has crossed into
Guatemala and said on Tuesday he will seek political asylum there.
has been in hiding for three weeks since police in Belize said they
wanted to question him as "a person of interest" about the murder of
fellow American Gregory Faull, with whom McAfee had quarreled.
smuggled himself and his girlfriend, Samantha, across the porous land
border that Belize shares with Guatemala. He stayed at a hotel in a
national park before heading for Guatemala City on Monday evening.
have no plans much for the future now. The reason I chose Guatemala is
two-fold," McAfee told Reuters by telephone from Guatemala's Supreme
Court, flanked by his lawyer, former attorney general and lawyer
"It is a country bordering Belize, it is a
country that understands the corruption within Belize and most
importantly, the former attorney general of the country is Samantha's
uncle and I knew that he would assist us with legal proceedings."
has denied involvement in the murder and told Reuters on Monday he
would not turn himself in. He posted repeatedly on his blog
www.whoismcafee.com while on the run, describing how he would constantly
change his disguise to elude capture.
On Tuesday, he appeared
with his hair and goatee died black, and wearing a dark suit and tie - a
far cry from the surfer-style blonde hair highlights, shorts and
tribal-tattooed bare shoulders he sported in Belize.
now attempting to get political asylum for myself and for Sam. I don't
think there will be much of a problem. From here I can speak freely and
safely," McAfee said.
Tech genius, bonkers
McAfee says he
believes authorities in Belize would kill him if he turned himself in
for questioning. Belize's prime minister has denied the claim and called
the 67-year-old paranoid and "bonkers."
On the Caribbean island
of Ambergris Caye, where McAfee has lived for about four years,
residents say he is eccentric, impulsive, erratic and at times unstable,
with a penchant for guns and young women.
He would often be seen
with armed bodyguards, pistols tucked into his belt, and McAfee's
neighbor had complained about the loud barking of dogs that guarded his
exclusive beachside compound.
His run-in with authorities in
Belize is a world away from a successful life in the United States,
where he started McAfee Associates in 1989 and made millions of dollars
developing the Internet anti-virus software that carries his name.
was already a case against McAfee in Belize for possession of illegal
firearms, and police had previously raided his property on suspicion he
was running a lab to make illegal synthetic narcotics.
McAfee says he has been persecuted for refusing to donate money to politicians, that he loves Belize, and considers it his home.
is a canny choice to seek refuge. It has long been embroiled in a
territorial dispute with Belize. Guatemala claims the southern half of
Belize and all of its islands, or cayes, rightfully belong to it. There
is no extradition treaty between the two countries.
government source said there was "no reason" to detain McAfee because
there was no legal case against him pending in the country.
Caballeros, Guatemala's foreign minister, said his government was
unaware of any arrest warrant and would study McAfee's asylum request
once presented, saying its success would "depend on the arguments."
told Reuters McAfee would return to Belize once his situation in
Guatemala was made legal, citing the fact he had crossed into the
country illegally to avoid capture by police in Belize.
"He can go
to the United States, there is no problem with that," he added. "We
have asked the U.S. embassy for support with our (asylum) request."
He said the asylum request would be formally presented on Wednesday.
U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City said in a statement McAfee would have to
work within the country's legal framework, but declined to elaborate.
"The embassy does not comment on the actions of American citizens, due
to privacy considerations."
© Thomson Reuters 2012