(CBS NEWS) – John McAfee, the founder of the software company McAfee Inc., has “been through a lot,” Jeff Wise, a reporter for Gizmodo.com, said on “CBS This Morning.” McAfee, who sold his company in the ’90s, is currently being sought by police in Belize for questioning in the slaying of his neighbor, who was found with a gunshot wound to his head.
Wise has met McAfee several times and published an online article last week about McAfee’s behavior and alleged criminal connections.
Wise said on “CTM,” “When I first got to know him, he was just a larger than life, very charismatic character. Famous, wealthy. The world was really his oyster, and in the five years that I’ve known him, he’s followed a downward trajectory. … He has some dark aspects to his character, and in a sense, being able to do whatever you want can be a curse at times.”
McAfee, 67, is considered the only “person of interest” in the murder of 52-year-old Gregory Viant Faull, according to Raphael Martinez, spokesman for Belize’s Ministry of National Security.
Wise said the last time he met with McAfee he was concerned for his own safety. “I talked to people who had been intimate, who had been very close to him. And many of them had left his property, had left his entourage, and told me they were afraid for their lives, even back in the United States. So thousands of miles away from him, they were still worried that somehow he could reach out and harm them.”
Asked what he’s capable of doing, Wise said, “I don’t really know what he’s capable of doing. He’s a very strange man. He’s one of these people who the more I’ve gotten to know him, the harder it is for me to pin (him) down exactly.”
Wise said he spoke with McAfee “a month or two ago” and emailed him on Monday, but didn’t receive a reply.
Asked where he thinks McAfee is now, Wise said, “The place where he’s living in Belize is about 30 miles from the Mexican border and he has boats. He could be anywhere.”
The software pioneer told the New York Times he had lost all but $4 million of the $100 million he made when he sold his company in the early 1990s. He moved to Belize three years ago to lower his taxes.
Asked about McAfee’s wealth, Wise said it’s “impossible to pin down any fact about John McAfee.”
He added, “He told The New York Times after the crash that he lost 96 percent of his money. I wrote an article for Fast Company in 2010, pointing out that that might not be true. It’s very hard to pin down. He sold all of his possessions in the United States. He had estates in Hawaii, Colorado, New Mexico. He sold everything and moved to Central America where he got residency. He’s a very elusive and tricky figure. He likes to portray himself as a huckster.”
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