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McAfee denies reports he was captured and says ‘double’ was arrested

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Software pioneer on the run from Belize authorities writes on his blog that he remains at large and that a decoy was detained

Fugitive software pioneer John McAfee has dismissed reports of his capture, claiming that it was in fact a double carrying a North Korean passport who was detained for “pre-planned misbehaviour”.

In the latest twist in the increasingly bizarre tail, rumours began circulating over the weekend – originating from his own blog – that McAfee’s life on the run from the Belize police was at an end.

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But on Monday the businessman, wanted for questioning over the murder of a neighbour, confirmed that he was still at large, apologising for his earlier “silence and misdirection”.

“We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet,” he wrote on his blog whoismcafee.com.

As to the apparent reports of his detention on the Belize-Mexico border, that appears to have been part of an elaborate escape plan, McAfee implied.

“My ‘double’, carrying a North Korean passport under my name, was in fact detained in Mexico for pre-planned misbehaviour, but due to indifference on the part of authorities was evicted from the jail and was unable to serve his intended purpose in our exit plan,” McAfee wrote.

It comes two days after his website announced “unconfirmed reports” of his detention. That post came as somewhat of a surprise to authorities in Belize, who dismissed the reports.

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“I do not know where he is supposed to have been captured, but he certainly isn’t here at San Pedro police station,” said one officer stationed in the town McAfee has called home since 2008.

Likewise a source at the US embassy told news agency AFP that people close to the fugitive had denied reports of his capture. A Belize police spokesman also said he had no news of an arrest.

The British-born computer programmer, who built up a fortune on the back of the internet security company that bears his name, has been on the run since 11 November, when the body of fellow American businessman Gregory Viant Faull was discovered at a neighbouring property.

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The pair were known to have quarrelled in the past, but McAfee – named as a person of interest in the case – has always maintained his innocence.

McAfee’s blog, which began after he went on the run, has given regular updates as to his life as a fugitive. In an early posting, he claimed that he disguised as a drunk German tourist and a peasant hawker to spy on the police investigation.

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He has previously accused police in the central American county of harassment and expressed fears that he would be killed if taken into the cells.

In response to those claims, Belize prime minister Dean Barrow described the fugitive as “bonkers”.

McAfee appears intent on remaining on the run for as long as is possible, telling CNN in a interview Friday: “I will certainly not turn myself in, and I will certainly not quit fighting. I will not stop my blog.”

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But his latest post appear to suggest that he will return to the central African country to continue monitoring the murder investigation, but only after a companion of his is safe.

“I will be returning to Belize after I have placed Sam in a safe position. My fight is with Belize, and I can do little in exile,” he wrote.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

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