Jailed computer genius/ ‘hacker’ Rui Pinto has today been confirmed as the ‘one and only source’ behind the damning Luanda Leaks dossier – the scandal that is relentless bringing down the business empire of former Angolan first daughter Isabel dos Santos.
Pinto’s lawyer William Bourdon – himself president of the African whistleblowing platform PPLAAF – delivered the news with defence colleague Francisco Teixeira da Mota today, compounding the conundrum of how authorities should be treating their 32-year-old client.
Explains former MEP Ana Gomes – an insistent voice in outing corruption, particularly when it comes to Angola – the latest revelations show the paradoxes at play.
On the one hand Portuguese justice is treating Rui Pinto as a criminal for exposing the rot in the world of international and Portuguese football. On the other, it is collaborating with authorities in Angola which are using information collected by Pinto to accuse Isabel dos Santos of fraud and money-laundering.
In Ms Gomes’ eyes – and those of his lawyers – “Rui Pinto is a whistleblower who should be protected as such by Portuguese authorities” which (after all) “should be fighting corruption, organised crime, money laundering, the financing of terrorism and other associated crimes”.
Instead – again in Ms Gomes’ mindset – they have been “absolutely complicit in the organised ransacking of Angola by Isabel dos Santos and other members of the Angolan kleptocracy”.
Ms Gomes’ protestations aside, Pinto’s lawyers stress their client delivered his information believing it to be his “civic duty” to do so.
“Thanks to our client, Portuguese citizens and the rest of the world have been given access to an extraordinary system of predatory corruption, gravely prejudicial to Portugal, Angola and many other countries”, said the lawyers’ statement.
The fall-out from Luanda Leaks has already seen several high-level resignations in various Portuguese companies associated with Ms dos Santos.
Says William Bourbon, the significance of the files handed over to PPLAAF by Pinto is on a par with the 2013 revelations by Edward Snowden on international corruption.
Diário de Notícias accepts however that it is not altogether clear how young Mr Pinto gained possession of the 715,000 documents that make up Luanda Leaks, some of them “including specific data like receipts for work carried out on the Lisbon and London homes of Isabel dos Santos”.
But there is “one undeniable coincidence”, says the paper: Ms dos Santos’ lawyer, Jorge Brito Pereira (who retired from practising law last week) was working for one of the Portuguese law firms hacked by Pinto when he was gathering data on Benfica football club.
Says the Guardian today, Rui Pinto “faces 25 years in prison if found guilty of all 90 charges against him” as a result of Football Leaks.
“The charges include attempted extortion and hacking into the secret information at a number of organisations. He denies all wrongdoing and has never accepted the charges”, the paper concludes.
UPDATE: latest reports suggest Rui Pinto “tripped over the information” as he was looking for further incriminating evidence on the world of football on a site belonging to a Portuguese law firm.