A satisfied defence lawyer Francisco Teixeira da Mota. Image: Lusa/ SIC Notícias
A satisfied defence lawyer Francisco Teixeira da Mota. Image: Lusa/ SIC Notícias

Football Leaks whistleblower walks ‘free’

Rui Pinto found guilty of attempted extortion and illegitimate acces

The heated debate over whether computer genius Rui Pinto – the young man behind the Football Leaks ‘scandal’ that exposed corruption in international football, and later Luanda Leaks – is a criminal or a whistleblower has been finally settled in court, with Pinto, 34, being condemned on some of the 90 charges that have been hanging over him for the last three years, and sentenced to four years in jail, suspended.

The majority of the charges facing Mr Pinto were dropped as part of the World Youth Day papal amnesty. He was nonetheless found guilty for attempted extortion and illegal access (into several databases).

In spite of the fury he unleashed among big names in the football world, Rui Pinto’s reasons for uncovering what he called “the corruption and avarice” in a sport that he loved were acknowledged by PJ boss Luís Neves who has called for a whistleblower’s charter, to help those in future who find themselves battling to expose malpractice.

One of Rui Pinto’s staunch supporters throughout his ordeal, former MEP Ana Gomes has tweeted this afternoon: “#Whistleblower Rui Pinto, of #Footballleaks & #Luandaleaks, is free – sentenced to 4 years prison but in probation. A fair sentence, considering his admission of illegalities, declared repentance & extraordinary public service rendered against organized crime in #Portugal & #EU”.

Rui Pinto’s lawyer Francisco Teixeira da Mota is also satisfied with the outcome, saying his client nonetheless will remain under witness protection – meaning he will have a new identity, and a new start in life, once the next slew of charges, also connected with his computer-hacking past, have been addresssed.

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