Rui Pinto, the Football Leaks hacker who has been in police custody since March, has been formally accused of 147 crimes by Portugal’s Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The 30-year-old, who is hailed as a ‘whistleblower’ by some and condemned as a criminal by others, is facing 75 charges of illegal access to data, 70 of violation of correspondence, one of computer sabotage and another of attempted extortion.
Rui Pinto’s former lawyer, Aníbal Pinto, has also been accused of one count of attempted extortion.
Diário de Notícias reports that the charges brought against the hacker were “aggravated” by the fact that he had said he was willing to collaborate with authorities in their investigation, although he never followed through.
This alleged “lack of remorse” only worsened his situation, a source described as “close to the process” said.
Prosecutors said in an official statement that Rui Pinto “used various computer programmes and digital tools to enter, in an unauthorised and anonymous way, computer systems or email boxes and remove content”.
He has become one of the main faces of Football Leaks, launched in 2015 with the goal of exposing corruption in sports.
It is described as “the largest leak in the history of sports”, revealing “murky” financial transactions in the world of European professional football and exposing the “tax tricks” used by football stars.
Pinto has repeatedly denied that he did nothing wrong and that his only goal was to bring the truth to light.
A date for the trial has not yet been revealed although the Public Prosecutor’s Office wants to keep Pinto in custody until then.
Former Euro MP Ana Gomes has been one of his main supporters, having said that it is “irrelevant” how Pinto came by his information, “what is important is that he has helped expose a variety of allegedly murky business dealings”.
William Bourdon, Rui Pinto’s current lawyer, said in an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel this week that the only reason he is behind bars is because he is in Portugal.
“In Germany, France, England or Italy, Rui would never be arrested on these charges,” he argued.