With Luanda Leaks revelations dismantling the business empire of former ‘first daughter of Angola’ Isabel dos Santos, reports have emerged that PJ police “suspect” the whistleblower who tipped off investigative journalists was none other than Rui Pinto – the 31-year-old computer ‘genius’ currently being held in jail facing 90 ‘crimes’ for exposing what he calls the ‘rot at the heart of the world of football’ (click here).
Sol online claims police justify their suspicions “with the fact that many of the documents published on the Luanda Leaks case are involved in the (Football Leaks) case”- which centers on Pinto – and on inquiries “that have yet to be investigated”.
According to Público these documents are stored in hard disks, pens and computers “that were seized from Rui Pinto in Hungary” (when he was first arrested).
Sol adds that William Bourdon – the French lawyer working on Pinto’s defence team – “is one of the founders of PPLAAF, the African whistleblowers’ platform”.
French lawyer Henri Thulliez has told Público that PPLAAF received documents that kick-started the Luanda Leaks probe, “at the end of 2018/ beginning of 2019”.
But if Rui Pinto’s information is indeed what set the balls rolling, it will be extremely difficult for authorities here to continue to paint him as a villain in the case of Football Leaks.
Portugal’s case against Pinto is based on the Football Leaks dossier having been obtained illegally. Angolan justice however has embraced Luanda Leaks – citing numerous ‘arguidos’ (official suspects) in Portugal and appealing to authorities here for help in rounding them up.
In seven whirlwind days – since Luanda Leaks broke – Isabel dos Santos has been forced out of her shareholding in EuroBic bank; her purported ‘personnel banking director there’ has hung himself; the future of engineering multinational Efacec is “suspended” (with workers fearing for their jobs) and her stake in telecommunications firm Nos is on a knife-edge as all three non-exeutive directors ‘associated with her’ have resigned.
Meantime, Angola has formally declared Ms dos Santos as an ‘arguida’ in a case for fraud and money-laundering – intimating that an international arrest warrant could be the next step unless the ‘billionaire businesswoman’ doesn’t return voluntarily to Angola to answer questions.
With auditors and law firms cited in Luanda Leaks under increasing scrutiny, the number of Portuguese banks that conceded Ms dos Santos enormous financial credit is mounting.
For Ana Gomes, the former MEP who had been trying to get the African businesswoman’s operations investigated for years, this is everything she has been waiting for.
It may be no coincidence that Ms Gomes has also been one of the staunchest supporters of Rui Pinto since he started being demonised by Portuguese justice (click here).
As Ms dos Santos’ numerous Portuguese ‘facilitators’ are now being exposed, a new study by Transparency International has tossed further ‘embarrassment’ into the mix: Portugal has dropped two points in the NGO’s corruption ranking. The reason: “lack of political courage” nationally to clamp down on corruption – even when it is denounced in great detail by third parties.
Says Ana Gomes “Portugal cannot be touted as a ‘case of success’ if we don’t look at the origin of the money”.
The fact that Isabel dos Santos and her apparent toxic wealth is now being removed from this nation’s business world may not be enough if what replaces it isn’t properly scrutinised.
And therein lies the rub: explain reports, in the wake of the furore caused by Luanda Leaks – and as dos Santos is being pressured to ‘sell’ her interests here and elsewhere in Europe – continental Chinese groups’ and companies based in Hong Kong are racing to the fore.