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McAfee settling into Miami, 'will not go back to Belize'

December 14, 2012|By Christine Mai-Duc
  • John McAfee arrives for an interview in Miami on Friday. McAfee, who is wanted for questioning in the shooting of an American citizen in Belize, was denied asylum by Guatemala.
John McAfee arrives for an interview in Miami on Friday. McAfee, who is wanted… (Louis Lanzano / Bloomberg )

John McAfee says he won’t return to Belize to answer questions about his neighbor’s murder there, again professing his innocence.

“I will not go back to Belize,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box Friday morning. “I had nothing to do with the murder of Gregory Faull.” McAfee said he would be happy to answer questions in a “neutral country.”

During the bizarre, at times rambling, 12-minute interview, McAfee went on to say that he hasn’t done drugs in 30 years, but if he did, “I have the resources to do good drugs” and not bath salts, which he said were for “people that don’t have a lot of money.”

He also reiterated claims that dozens of armed Belizean police had attacked his property in April, and that subsequent demands for bribes were what prompted him to go into hiding.

It was the latest of several live TV interviews McAfee has done in the past week during the dramatic turn of events that brought him from a Guatemala detention center to the shores of South Beach in Miami.

In various interviews, McAfee has told reporters that he faked chest pains while detained in Guatemala to buy his lawyers time and that he plans to stay in Miami until his girlfriends, 17 and 20, can join him.

McAfee has also denied that IRS or FBI officials questioned him upon his return.

"Why would they want to question me, about what?" he told the Associated Press.

McAfee had been on the run from officials in Belize for more than a month after being named a “person of interest” in Faull’s murder.

Belize police maintain that they merely want to question McAfee, who lived near Faull on Ambergris Caye, an idyllic Caribbean island off the coast of Belize. But McAfee, who founded the antivirus company that still bears his name, has said he fears for his safety if sent back to Belize.

Officials in Guatemala arrested McAfee a week ago after denying his request for political asylum, saying he had entered the country illegally. A judge there ordered him released late Tuesday; McAfee was stateside by Wednesday evening.

News anchors have grown accustomed to harried phone interviews with the software pioneer boarding his plane or freshly landed at his South Beach hotel. But in his interview Friday morning McAfee, tanned and dressed in a dark suit, appeared relaxed and confident.

Since landing in Miami on Wednesday, McAfee has held impromptu press conferences on the steps of his hotel despite a request on his blog that still urges press to “please respect John’s privacy.”

After dropping contact with two Vice journalists since Guatemala (he accused the magazine of purposefully revealing his location in a cellphone photo’s metadata), he’s since had two other Miami reporters in tow, who report that he spent Thursday dining on hundreds of dollars worth of sushi and browsed phones and sunglasses in a posh shopping district.

“I have no future, and if I have no future, that means I have no fear,” McAfee said to the reporters.

Meanwhile, the family of Gregory Faull, who was found faceup in a pool of his own blood in Belize, said McAfee should be questioned in Miami. “I’m shocked by this,” Faull’s stepfather, William Keeney, told Reuters on Thursday. “He’s running around footloose and fancy-free in Miami. How in the world can that be?”

Belize police spokesman Raphael Martinez has said officials there have no plans to travel to the United States to question the tech giant. But Martinez also left open the possibility that McAfee could go from "person of interest" to a named suspect, a situation in which he said Belize could explore additional options under extradition treaties with the United States.

ALSO:

McAfee lands safely in Miami, takes taxi to South Beach hotel

John McAfee to be released from Guatemalan jail, his lawyer says

McAfee founder surfaces in Guatemala after giving Belize the slip

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