Raids on football clubs and businessmen stem from information from young computer genius

The multiple swoops by tax authorities and the public ministry on various Portuguese football clubs over the last few days are all down to information from ‘computer genius’ Rui Pinto, whose ‘hacking’ of various systems to reveal corruption on a gargantuan scale led to him being charged with no less than 147 crimes; held in solitary confinement; condemned to house arrest … and finally hailed by PJ police chief Luís Neves as a “young man with serious concerns about society” (click here).

The saying ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’ could well have been written for 32-year-old Pinto as he sees newspapers and television stations fall over themselves now to beam the latest in alleged football intrigue involving ‘millions of euros’ purportedly snaffled away in various tax-dodging schemes.

According to tabloid Correio da Manhã, the 32-year-old has been helping police throughout their investigations.

“His revelations in the case of Football Leaks (click here) concerning (former Brazilian player) Deco and (Portuguese sports promoter) Jorge Mendes will have contributed to the investigations as part of Operation Off-Side”, explains the paper this morning – referring to the fact that Mr Pinto agreed to collaborate with authorities last year, in return for various criminal charges against him being dropped (click here).

Bizarrely, Rui Pinto is still a defendant in a case brought against him by sports promoters Doyen who are accusing him of attempted extortion (something he denies).

But his new role in actually helping authorities has already seen him agreeing to open encrypted files full of information about transfer ‘irregularities’ involving players at Portugal’s top clubs, and tax evasion involving the small-print of contracts drawn up over image rights.

“Not even Porto football club – of which he is a fan – escaped”, says the paper, which carries a short editorial by Eduardo Dâmaso, director of Sábado, conceding that “in Portugal the idea that football is untouchable prevails; the State, governments and parties close their eyes…” leaving the Portuguese people to foot the bill for millions of euros worth of shady dealings.

If it wasn’t for what Dâmaso calls “the historic exception of Rui Pinto”, the situation would almost surely have continued.

“After yet another day of searches (yesterday), we hope, at the very least, that the muscle of the Public Ministry and the AT tax authority will ensure we are not all pushed ‘off side’”, he concludes.

Meantime, the millions purportedly involved in various ongoing investigations into alleged corruption within Portuguese football clubs climb at a dizzying pace into the stratosphere.

Operation “Off Side”, which already involves around 100 arguidos (official suspects), is understood to involve ‘frauds’ potentially of over €200 million, while Operations “Red Card” and “Blue Card” don’t appear to be too far behind.

Showing remarkable restraint, Mr Pinto tweeted last night: “The investigation into financial flows between football clubs and intermediaries is always a very good news. There is a lot to investigate in Portugal, and finally the Portuguese judicial authorities have made a move on a large scale”.

Rui Pinto’s ‘revelations’ have not limited themselves to shady dealings in the world of football. He is also responsible for the dossier ‘Luanda Leaks’ which essentially ‘brought down’ the business empire of former Angolan first daughter Isabel dos Santos (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com