September 20 – Days after the lawyer representing Rui Pinto, whose string of incriminating leaks shook the footballing world before he was controversially extradited from Hungary to his native Portugal, denounced the Portuguese authorities for holding his client without charge, over 100 charges have been brought against the hacker-cum-whistleblower.
Pinto is accused of stealing data, including from the Portuguese state, but his supporters have long claimed that his whistleblowing status should have been protected rather than him be treated as hacker whose actions led to millions of confidential documents being provided to the Football Leaks website and then published by a string of media groups exposing the murky financial dealings of several leading clubs.
Football Leaks provided millions of documents and more than 3.4 terabytes of information to media outlets in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium.
Altogether, Portuguese prosecutors are bringing 154 charges against Pinto, who is in custody in Lisbon after being extradited from Hungary. They include illegal access to data and attempted extortion.
“The accused used various computer programmes and digital tools to enter, in an unauthorised and anonymous manner, the computer systems or email boxes and remove content from it,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Pinto faces a potentially long prison term but his lawyers argue their client is a “very important European whistleblower”, pointing to the fact that several of his revelations are now being formally investigated by football’s authorities including UEFA.
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