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McAfee arrested after asylum attempt

16:38 Thu Dec 6 2012
AAP

Software company founder John McAfee has been arrested in Guatemala City for entering the country illegally, a Guatemalan official says.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said McAfee was detained by police at a hotel in an upscale neighbourhood with the help of Interpol agents.

He offered no other details.

Earlier on Wednesday, McAfee said he had formally requested asylum in Guatemala claiming he is being persecuted in Belize, where he is wanted for questioning in the fatal shooting of a neighbour.

McAfee was taken late on Wednesday to an old, three-story building used to house migrants who enter Guatemala illegally.

The 67-year-old went on the run last month.

McAfee had a series of clashes with neighbours and authorities over allegations he kept aggressive dogs, illegal weapons and drug paraphernalia in his beachfront home on a Belize island.

McAfee has denied any wrongdoing and said he was being persecuted for refusing to donate to local politicians.

He dropped out of sight for weeks after police said they were seeking him, although he grabbed global attention by recounting his life on a blog and regular phone calls with reporters.

He crossed into Guatemala this week and told The Associated Press he formally applied for asylum on Wednesday.

"Yes, we are presenting this, and I want it to be clear, because of the persecution, not because of the murder," he said.

Belizean officials have denied persecuting McAfee, and the country's prime minister has said he suspects McAfee is mentally unstable.

Police in Belize say there is no warrant for McAfee's arrest. Since there are no restrictions on his travels, it's unclear why he would need any special status in order to stay in Guatemala.

McAfee is wanted for questioning in connection with the killing of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death in early November on the Belize island where both men lived.

The creator of the McAfee antivirus program has led an eccentric life since he sold his stake in the anti-virus software company that is named after him in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.

He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had lost all but $US4 million ($A3.84 million) of his $US100 million fortune in the US financial crisis.