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Belize - Computer security industry pioneer John McAfee says he has gone into hiding in Belize because he believes authorities there are trying to frame him for the murder of a neighbour, a crime he says he did not commit, according to Wired magazine.
Belize police said Monday they were searching for McAfee as “a person of interest” in a murder investigation.
“You can say I'm paranoid about it, but they will kill me, there is no question. They've been trying to get me for months. They want to silence me,” the magazine quoted McAfee as saying on its website. “I am not well liked by the prime minister. I am just a thorn in everybody's side.”
The magazine reported that McAfee, 67, contacted one of its reporters by telephone after his neighbour Gregory Viant Faull, was found dead on Sunday in a pool of blood. The 52-year-old American was apparently shot in the head.
McAfee, who amassed a fortune by building the anti-virus company that bears his name, has homes and businesses in the Central American country where he has lived since 2008, according to Wired.
It was not the first time McAfee has drawn police attention.
His premises were raided in May after he was accused of holding firearms, though most were found to be licensed. The final outcome of the case is pending.
McAfee also owns a security company in Belize as well as several properties and an ecological enterprise.
Reuters has been unable to reach McAfee.
McAfee was one of Silicon Valley's first entrepreneurs to amass a fortune by building a business off the Internet.
The former Lockheed systems consultant started McAfee Associates in 1989, initially distributing anti-virus software as “shareware” on Internet bulletin boards.
He took the company public in 1992 and left two years later following accusations that he had hyped the arrival of a virus known as Michelangelo, which turned out to be a dud, to scare computer users into buying his company's products.
McAfee currently has no relationship with the software company, which has since been sold to Intel Corp. - Reuters