Portugal, the epicenter of football. It is to this country, from which come the main sports agents who waltz hundreds of millions across the planet, that now returns the right to judge Rui Pinto, whose trial-river opened on Friday, for a period of time. three months. The Lisbon court will have to decide, in front of the whole world: Rui Pinto, at the origin of Football Leaks, is he a hacker or a whistleblower? Should he be released or condemned? Storm under the skulls of local justice.
For the record, Rui Pinto, 31, will have provided in 2016 record computer data (10 billion bytes, greatly exceeding all previous leaks) to the German investigative magazine The mirror, which, faced with the deluge of data, will share it with a consortium of European media (including Mediapart in France). Disastrous effect for the football world, Portugal in particular. The country “is the hub of fraudulent practices, even beyond football ”, proclaimed the applicant in Release in November 2019.
Back against the wall
Before the Portuguese justice, Rui Pinto is formally prosecuted for a hundred crimes. Beyond penal inflation, he is criticized for a smaller handful: computer hacking and violation of privacy. There is that of Cristiano Ronaldo, local and world star, finally taxed in the care of Football Leaks. We do not have to say thank you to the whistleblower, but from there to prosecute him criminally … “I have serious doubts about the Portuguese legal system, explained Rui Pinto to Release in November 2019. The prosecutor does not wish to investigate cases of corruption or tax evasion, she only wants my cooperation to be self-incriminating. ”
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The Portuguese public authorities (government, football authorities) are now with their backs to the wall. They risk being the laughing stock of the rest of the European Union, even the whole world, for being the only ones to prosecute the main denouncer of the turpitudes of football-business – when, in France, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) opened in parallel a preliminary investigation for “money laundering in an organized group of tax evasion” and “association of criminals”, but without being able to make testify Rui Pinto, detained then under house arrest by the Portuguese justice.
The LuxLeaks precedent
At the opening of his trial on Friday morning, Rui Pinto will have made a “Beautiful statement”, according to his French lawyer William Bourdon, as a defendant before the Lisbon Criminal Court but also as now “Protected witness” – local justice schizophrenia – about his countless information on the underside of the ball. The whistleblower assured that the leaks of which he is at the origin “Are a cause of pride and not of shame”. And add: “I was outraged by what I discovered and decided to make it public.”
Portuguese justice will have to decide. His Luxembourg counterpart, however little suspect of alter-globalization, finally granted this status to Antoine Deltour, at the origin of the LuxLeaks, in May 2018. Because some public trials can prove to be counterproductive for those who would have imagined the scenario. original. In that of Rui Pinto, no less than 45 witnesses will take the stand, including Eva Joly, ex-investigating judge, or Edward Snowden, who had revealed the massive surveillance program of the US national security agency he seven years ago. Enough to transform it into a permanent happening.