Dot-com billionaire John McAfee is being sought for questioning by Belize officials investigating the murder of his neighbor.
McAfee, who reportedly sold his anti-virus software company to Intel for $7.7 billion two years ago, had relocated to Belize. The 67-year-old had apparently been acting strangely, and Belize authorities believe he may know something about the death of his neighbor, 52-year-old Gregory Faull, reports the New York Post.
So far, however, McAfee has not been found.
Faull, another ex-pat, had lived on the island of Ambergris Caye. His housekeeper found his body over the weekend. Faull had been shot in the head, and his computer and phone were missing, reports the Post.
McAfee and Faull reportedly had a rocky relationship. Just last week, Faull had filed a complaint against McAfee because McAfee had allegedly fired his guns and shown "roguish behavior," writes the Post.
Now McAfee finds himself in the strange position as an American potentially facing charges for a foreign crime.
Typically, U.S. citizens visiting or living in a foreign country have to abide by the foreign country's rules. So if you take a vacation to Belize or any other country, you do not have free reign to act as you please simply because you are an American. The same laws that apply to other residents of Belize will similarly apply to you, and if you violate these laws you could face punishment by the courts of Belize.
Only rarely can someone avoid criminal prosecution based on their status as a U.S. citizen. For example, a diplomat may be able to claim diplomatic immunity in some cases.
If John McAfee was involved in the murder of his neighbor, he will need the assistance of a criminal attorney familiar with international and Belizian law. McAfee's status as an American in Belize may not protect him, but an expert in international criminal law may be able to find a loophole or a compelling argument to keep his client out of a Central American prison.
- McAfee Security founder wanted for murder in Belize (Ars Technica)
- Extradition (FindLaw)
- Does Diplomatic Immunity Equal Arrest-Proof? (FindLaw's Blotter)