Whistleblowers unite: Pinto to get character reference from Edward Snowden

September 2 – This Friday the trial of Portuguese whistleblower Rui Pinto (pictured) will get underway in Portugal and his lawyer has revealed that Edward Snowden will be one of the 45 witnesses testifying in Pinto’s defence. 

Pinto’s revelations in Football Leaks shook the global game, shedding an unprecedented light on the murky dealings in football, and leading to legal proceedings in France, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland. But in his native Portugal prosecutors have accused him of attempted extortion, computer hacking and breach of correspondence.

Pinto has always maintained his innocence, acknowledging he was the force behind Football Leaks, a trove of 70 million documents, but insisting that he never committed a crime because he was acting in the public interest. Last year, he was controversially extradited from Hungary to Portugal on the accusation of having stolen data. 

In January, Pinto said he was also responsible for disclosing documents about alleged financial fraud by Angolan billionaire and Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos.

“Rui Pinto is the Snowden of international corruption and (he) must be recognised as one of the greatest whistleblowers of the beginning of this century,” William Bourdon, another of Pinto’s lawyers, told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Bourdon has represented Snowden as well. The American is wanted back home for espionage after he copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency employee and subcontractor. Snowden has always maintained that the information he leaked was in the public interest.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601003408labto1601003408ofdlr1601003408owedi1601003408sni@o1601003408fni1601003408