In the courtroom: Pinto, who ruined Ronaldo’s career, against the prosecutor’s office
Rui Pinto: Hacker Whistleblower or Cybercriminal?
The hacker Rui Pinto behind the controversial Football Leaks project was accused Portuguese prosecutor’s office in 377 crimes for accessing the computer systems of football clubs, journalists and judges, including the lawyer Cristiano Ronaldo, from where he received information about a rape complaint against a football player.
He previously told the court that he was “outraged” by what he saw in the documents and that this prompted him to post them online under the title “Football Leaks”.
The indictment, issued on July 4 and now published by local media, says 202 crimes are qualified illegal access, 134 are breach of correspondence, 23 are aggravated breach of correspondence and 18 are computer damage.
Prosecutors allege that Pinto illegally accessed Ronaldo’s lawyer’s email and passed information to the German magazine Der Spiegel about a rape complaint filed by a model against the soccer player. Ronaldo is one of more than 100 people called as witnesses by prosecutors in the case.
Pinto also gained access to Benfica’s emails, which he then gave to FC Porto’s director of public relations, Francisco J. Marquez, already convicted in another trial for exposing the emails. He also accessed the emails of Rio Ave, Leixoes, Moreirense, Vitoria de Guimaraes, the League of Clubs, Judges and Prosecutors, the National Internal Security Network, the Internal Revenue Service, the Cofina group journalists, and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
Pinto was already on trial in another Football Leaks trial, where he was charged with 90 counts of computer crime and extortion. The decision in this case will be announced on July 13.
Pinto considers himself not a hacker, but a debunker of corruption in the football world. He also claims to be behind the Luanda Leaks, a collection of 715,000 emails, contracts, audits and other documents that explain how Isabelle dos Santos – daughter of the late Angolan dictator José dos Santos – built a business empire and became the richest woman in the world. Africa.
Rui Pinto claims his revelations about Ronaldo led to the collapse of his minor league career and a move to a country run by a human rights violating regime.
“In the course of a few months, something that no one expected happened – the legacy of Cristiano Ronaldo is badly damaged.
All he did was move to Arabia with a generous contract, becoming the so-called “ambassador”, a propagandist for a totalitarian regime known for its brutal suppression of human rights, and a direct participant in the barbaric murder of Jamal Khashoggi, ”says Pinto.
What was Pinto accused of?
Pinto was put on trial for 89 hacking crimes. Among his victims were Portugal’s leading football club Sporting CP, investment fund Doyen Sports, the Portuguese Football Federation, a law firm and judges from the Portuguese prosecutor’s office.
He was also charged with attempted extortion, a crime punishable by two to 10 years in prison.
34 year old hacker was arrested in Budapest in 2019 and extradited back to Portugal to stand trial in 2020.
He had previously told the court that he was “outraged” by what he saw in the documents and that this prompted him to release them online under the title “Football Leaks”.
What was the Football Leaks release like?
Football Leaks is a treasure trove of 18.6 million documents that shed light on the dubious activities of football stars, their clubs and their agents.
Pinto released the files online in 2015 and they were subsequently picked up by several European news outlets, including the German Der Spiegel.
The revelations have brought several clients of Portuguese superspy Jorge Mendez under investigation for tax evasion, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who ended up paying several million euros to Spanish tax authorities in 2019.
They also identified a rape complaint filed against Ronaldo. The complaint was later rejected by the court US state of Nevada in 2022.