John McAfee faked a heart attack to avoid being bundled onto a plane to the US while being held prisoner in the Dominican Republic last week, he has told Coin Rivet in an exclusive interview.
The 73-year-old, on the run from US authorities for tax evasion, had been advised by a high-ranking Cuban army officer to flee Havana. The officer whispered to Mr McAfee and his wife Janice that the US authorities were closing in and would apprehend the couple within 72 hours.
The pair and their entourage scrambled to their yacht and headed for the Dominican Republic where they were met by soldiers before being arrested, stripped of their possessions – including $100,000 in cash – and thrown into cells.
The group were charged with not declaring their onboard arsenal of automatic weapons, but argued they hadn’t even been given the opportunity to do so as they were detained the moment their vessel – The Freedom Boat – was moored.
“They finally charged us with not declaring the guns to Customs, but we were never allowed to talk to Customs,” he laughed.
“Customs or Immigration never came near the boat, we never talked to them – so it was clearly a set-up!”
Their incarceration lasted three nights before they were told they would be reported to the USA where John McAfee is wanted in connection with tax avoidance running into millions of dollars.
“On the fourth day, they took us out of detention,” he explained.
“I’m sure they put us in that hell hole for the simple reason that you would go anywhere rather than go back into the hell hole – but not me, I’m not playing that game.”
The Dominican officials then told the group they would have to ‘go back to America’ despite their protestations that they had just arrived from Cuba.
“So, I reached into a secret pocket and pulled out a British passport and said I’m British – I am a British citizen as well as an American citizen,” he added.
“I threw it onto the table and told them I’m British and I want to go home to Britain.”
The guards were having none of it, so the McAfees turned to their two lawyers who had arrived at the prison and gave instructions to them to file a case with the courts, knowing they could not be deported until a case had been heard.
“I knew for a fact they could not take it to court because it would prove they came onto the boat before we even entered the country,” said the crypto evangelist.
“The lawyers said it would take a couple of hours, but I said I would take care of everything.”
It was at this point that McAfee hatched his daring scheme to turn the situation to his favour, after whispering to his wife he was about to fake a stroke.
“A few minutes later I fell on the floor on my face in convulsions, because they’re about to put us on a plane to Miami and I thought, ‘that ain’t happening’,” he admitted.
“They took me to the hospital, which I knew they had to – I mean, if I had died in the Dominican Republic without being offered medical aid that would have been a terrible tragedy for the Dominican Republic.
“When I got to the hospital, I feigned all kinds of stuff, you know – I can’t even remember my name, or my wife.”
Describing the scene in the hospital, Janice McAfee said: “He told me what he was going to do – but it really was quite convincing.”
Shortly after the dramatic incident, the McAfees’ lawyers came to the entrepreneur’s bedside and leant over the seemingly stricken patient.
“About two hours and fifteen minutes later, the lawyers came into the hospital and whispered into my ear ‘it’s okay – now you can be fine’, so I said ‘I feel much better’… by then they had filed a brief and had delivered it to the head of immigration,” he chuckled.
“The brief was a restraining order that said you could not send Mr McAfee anywhere until his case is heard.
“Well, now, they did not want that case heard, so they said ‘where do you want to go?’, and we said ‘England’, so they sent us to England.”
The couple and their team then spent two brief nights in London before deciding they weren’t safe and fleeing to another part of the world.
Where? How? Why? You can hear it all in the McAfees’ own words in our exclusive studio interview…
By Emma Thompson – August 9, 2019