John McAfee’s recent self-imposed extradition from the United States and into international waters is possibly one of the most talked about events in recent cryptocurrency history. One man, one boat, a die-hard entourage and predilection for crypto. Chepicap had an exclusive interview with McAfee, from the Freedom Boat.
This week, John McAfee shared a video to his 890K Twitter followers, revealing that he was on the run from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who had convened a grand jury to charge McAfee, his wife, and four of his campaign workers with “unspecified IRS crimes of a felonious nature.” Now, piled in a fishing yacht dubbed ‘The Freedom Boat', McAfee and his motley crew are on a course for the Bahamas in an effort to clear his name and fight injustice.
The McAfee 2020 Campaign is, as of this day, in exile. I am being charged with using Crypto Cuttencies in criminal acts against the U. S. Government. More videos coming shortly. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/C75zcbnKTD— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) January 22, 2019
It all began fairly serendipitously a few days before McAfee’s now infamous escape from the IRS. Chepicap contacted the security magnate in order to quiz him on his upcoming presidential run, McAfee agreed and we tried to set a date. After a few emails back and forth, he stopped responding. A day later we understood why; The headlines read: 'John McAfee flees US after being charged with felonies by IRS'
So we contacted him again, this time he replied:
We prepared, just like any other interview (only this time with a fugitive).
We phone the number given to us, a voice picks up: "I’m available", McAfee says.
Read more: 'Fugitive' John McAfee on the phone: the full interview (incl. audio)
Being a fugitive, John was understandably paranoid about being traced, so there was one condition to this interview. Two phone calls five minutes at a time, with a few hours in between the first and the second. No longer than five minutes, or else he risked being tracked. Fair enough.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE
"Of course I saw this coming. I'm John McAfee"
After briefly explaining his escape, in which he packed his worldly belongings into a 74" fishing yacht and fled the United States with an entourage of his closets allies; McAfee divulged that he saw this coming:
"Of course I saw this coming, I’m John McAfee!" he said, adding that being one of the worlds leading computer security expert means that he "knows how to find out anything."
McAfee relayed that his self-exile was undertaken in order to "keep his voice", adding that staying would have surely exposed him to indictment, arrest, and most likely labelled him a flight risk, potentially leaving him without the hope of posting bail, "well of course I’m a flight risk, I am in flight", he exclaimed.
The "Freedom Boat" survived a stormy night at sea and lost an engine. We reached safety, and brought with us a symbol of freedom recognized around the world. I want to restore that symbol to a position of reality once again. pic.twitter.com/LqMJr9H7PN— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) January 23, 2019
"This is all about crypto"
McAfee stands by the fact that he has nothing to hide, and that this sudden move by the IRS was politically motivated:
“This is all about crypto … I am the one who has been saying at all the conferences, all my keynote speeches, 'crypto will kill every attempt to collect taxes, it can’t be done if we’re all using privacy coins’ and I then go on to say, and I think that’s a good thing."
Read more: McAfee after escaping the US: 'Nothing to hide with one exception'
McAfee doppelgangers 'ready to go'
McAfee also spoke about his campaign run for the 2020 elections, something which he intends to take on the road with him. Carrying on with his election effort by utilizing doppelgangers:
"We have thousands of volunteers ready to go", he said, "I’ll be talking through a little speaker… I'll be able to see the conference attendees, answer questions, shake hands even."
"The situation I’m in now, this is not unique to my life… this is my life", McAfee proclaimed, before adding "I do nothing but fight corruption."
As the conversation continued, the topic of crypto naturally arose. McAfee stated that to break free of the constraints of government we have to first "take control over our currency, take control of our finances, and therefore take control over every aspect of our lives."
And suddenly with that, it was over before it even began. McAfee informed us that his manager had "given him the sign", and our first five minutes were done.
Several hours later, we tried again.
"The person you called has a voicemail box that has not been set up yet", said a robotic American voice.
Suddenly the phone rang.
"Hi, John," we answer, "how are you doing," he replied.
Pleasantries out of the way and knowing time was tight we jumped straight back into it.
"I cannot trade any of my crypto"
We mention hearing about the freeze on his bank account, wondering if he was taking the opportunity to use any crypto cryptocurrencies:
"This is how illegal our IRS is and how powerful they are outside the law,” McAfee states, indignant at the fact that this still occurred, regardless of the lack of a formal charge, "I cannot trade any of my crypto because the IRS is going to use that as absolute proof … so I can't do that."
McAfee continued to relate to us the powerful reach of the IRS, encouraging us to watch the video on his Twitter, which depicted agents of an unknown affiliation rifling through some of McAfee’s rifles.
A taste of what we are going through. The long arm of the corrupt elements of the US Government reaches the far ends of the earth in unexpected ways. My charisma and the veracity of our story has so far overcome every threat by the IRS. God bless the honor of the Bahamians. pic.twitter.com/CmIRsGVpL4— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) January 24, 2019
"Only support I'm getting is from the CIA"
While McAfee has garnered much encouragement via social media, it seems this isn’t the only solace he’s received: “the only support that I'm getting, believe it or not, is from the CIA and my contact within the CIA says that the CIA will under no circumstances corporate with the IRS to kidnap me and return me to the US”
McAfee reveals that crypto is the crux of the problem, asserting that the reason the IRS has suddenly taken an interest is that they believe that he sold his holdings without paying any tax on them:
"They think I’ve taken crypto, I’ve sold it and I’ve stored the money away", he said, before jovially adding that they’re going to have a "real hard time proving that … I haven’t sold a single fucking token. Sure I have a lot. But until it's sold it's just digital data. When I was the chairman of MGT I didn't sell a single stock. My nose is cleaner than anyone in the business."
This is when McAfee gave up trying to hide his whereabouts, saying he was in the Bahamas, adding that there "no need to try and keep this a secret", because "the government knew" his whereabouts. "they have these fucking satellites up there that can track my every fucking movement."
The pups and i under way in blue water. No more secrets. We are going to Georgetown in the Exumas where a Bahamian lawyer will begin our just case against extradition until my campaign is finished. Political crimes are universally exempted. If this is not political, then what is? pic.twitter.com/YzufrLvhII— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) January 24, 2019
"Of course I'm going to return to the US"
McAfee’s plan now is to find a lawyer; not "a high powered Nassau lawyer who has clients like Donald Trump," he told us, but a "country lawyer who understands this is a politically motivated prosecution."
Moving onto whether or not he was returning to the US any time soon he replied "of course I’m going to return, it's my home", caveating that he needs to stay where he is or risk being 'silenced':
"I need to stay free enough to talk to the world about what I have done what I have to see and what's really happening here …"