Court room where Rui Pinto is being heard . Image: José Sena Goulão/ Lusa

“Perverse strategy” sees Football Leaks whistleblower made defendant in new case

Rui Pinto admits that crime “even for best intentions” does not pay

Football leaks whistleblower Rui Pinto has been made a defendant in another case by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, lawyer Francisco Teixeira da Mota revealed today before his young client was due to make a statement in court.

“I wanted to communicate that on Friday, Rui Pinto became a new defendant in relation to facts that are on trial here. The case is three years old, but the Public Prosecutor’s Office only made Rui Pinto a defendant this Friday”, he said.

According to Teixeira da Mota, the facts relating to this process took place between 2015 and 2018, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office​​​​​​​ has been aware of all the information pertaining to it since 2019. “This is a perverse strategy, artificially prolonging the status of defendant,” he said.

Rui Pinto, 33 years old, has been charged with 90 crimes: 68 of undue access, 14 of violation of correspondence, six of illegitimate access, targeting entities such as Sporting, Doyen, the PLMJ law firm, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and the Attorney General’s Office, and also for computer sabotage of SportingFootbal Club and extortion, in the attempted form. The latter crime concerns Doyen and was what also led to the indictment of lawyer Aníbal Pinto.

Rui Pinto has been free since 7 August 2020, “due to his cooperation” with the Judicial Police (PJ)  but, for security reasons, remains in witness protection at an undisclosed location and under police protection.

PJ boss Luís Neves has in the past gone so far as to praise Rui Pinto as a “young man with serious concerns for society” – a characteristic that Pinto himself has stressed impelled his activity in exposing the the Football Leaks dossier that so outraged key members of the world of international football.

But today in court, Rui Pinto admitted that crime, even when it is powered by the best intentions, is not worth it.

“Knowing what I know today, I would not get involved in things like this again”, he told the central criminal court of Lisbon. “My life has been turned upside down; my family has suffered a great deal” and what also upsets him is the fact that all the people who he has blown the whistle on… “none of them have ended up in preventive custody”.

The Luanda Leaks dossier, for example – had “great national and international impact, but Isabel dos Santos continues living her life happily in Dubai, and there is no arrest warrant out in her name. Things will be allowed to run possibly until their legal time-limits lapse”, he considered.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com