Before Snowden: Other Fugitives Who Have Gone on the Lam From the Feds

Edward Snowden isn't the first fugitive who's trotted the globe in a high-profile attempt to flee the feds

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Gil Cohen / REUTERS

Swiss billionaire Marc Rich receives an honorary doctorate degree from Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv on May 15, 2007

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden boarded a flight to Moscow early Sunday morning, which all but secured the former CIA employee’s status as a fugitive on the run. He fled his Hong Kong hideout and has now asked Ecuador for asylum. And it seems Snowden has got the notorious whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks on his side — in a statement, the organization said he was taking a “safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.” But of course, Snowden’s not the first fugitive who’s trotted the globe in a high-profile attempt to flee the feds.

First, there’s Marc Rich, the international businessman and financier who, in 1983, was indicted for evading more than $48 million in taxes. As TIME reported previously, Rich faced 51 different counts of tax fraud and was also charged with running illegal oil deals during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. He fled to Switzerland, and although Bill Clinton pardoned him in 2001 — during his last week in office — to this day, Rich has yet to return to the U.S.

In Rich’s case, the pardon outraged just about everyone, while in Snowden’s case, thousands of supporters demanded his pardon before he was even charged with any crimes.

(MORE: Hong Kong Authorities Silent as Snowden Charges Filed)

And then, of course, there’s Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who, after publishing a trove of classified military documents, eventually sought asylum in Ecuador — much like Snowden’s reportedly doing now. For the past year, Assange has lived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London; he fears he could face the death penalty if extradited to the U.S.

On Saturday, Assange released a statement reflecting on the past year in general — and Snowden in particular.

And let’s not forget infamous computer programmer John McAfee, who fled his property in Belize in late 2012 after police tried to question him about the murder of his neighbor. After a full three weeks on the lam, McAfee ended up seeking asylum in Guatemala, admitting he’d crossed the border illegally but claiming he’d be killed in Belize. The software pioneer eventually made his way back to the U.S. after faking a heart attack.

So far, it’s unclear if the Snowden saga will be as eyebrow raising and dramatic as the stories of his fellow fugitives. In the meantime, if you want an idea of what might be next for Snowden as he navigates the waters of a life on the run, see our list of 10 other notorious leakers and how they fared, ranging from James Buchanan in 1848 to Bradley Manning in 2010.

MORE: What’s Next for Snowden: 10 Notorious Leakers and How They Fared

2 comments
okhueleigbe
okhueleigbe

My name is Mr.William. How i became rich and famous in 3 days. I became very rich and famous through the help of Dr. David, who is a member, and an agent to the great Illuminati brotherhood. Through him, I bought the form, and I was initiated. If you really want to be rich. You can also reach him on his contact email address: (jointhebrotherhoodilluminati@gmail.com). 

cdherz44
cdherz44

Pardon for Rich, asylum for McAfee.  Money talks.