The judgment of the Football Leaks process, which has Rui Pinto as the main defendant, will know, this Friday, the reading of the judgment, more than two and a half years after it began in the Central Criminal Court of Lisbon.
The release of the decision, scheduled for 10:00 am, on the case of the creator of the electronic platform that in 2015 rocked world football may, however, not mean that the outcome of one of the most mediatic processes in recent years is already known.
Looming over the trial is the strike by court employees – which has already postponed several steps -, but also a possible non-substantial change in the facts and legal qualification by the panel of judges chaired by Margarida Alves, which may require time for the defenses to pronounce themselves, as has already been seen in other more complex cases and which cannot be ruled out in a case with unprecedented contours in Portuguese justice.
Seen by some as a hacker and by others as a whistleblower, Rui Pinto arrives at this stage with another awareness of the case that began to be tried on September 4, 2020, after being arrested in Hungary in early 2019, having assumed the his repentance and the practice of some crimes in his last intervention before the court.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office and the lawyers are mistaken if they consider that there is no sincere repentance on my part. I will not say that my life has been destroyed, because I am still alive and while there is life, there is hope… the law, clearly”, said the creator of Football Leaks at the closing of the final allegations, in January, without ceasing to praise the revelations of Luanda Leaks, which were also addressed throughout the trial.
During this period, Rui Pinto also strengthened his collaboration with the Judiciary Police (PJ), thus allowing access to the computer disks seized during his arrest. On the other hand, it is known that the young man from Porto is already accused in another case for facts related to those at issue in the current trial, as revealed in court by the defendant’s lawyer, Francisco Teixeira da Mota, on October 10, 2022.
“Rui Pinto was made a new defendant in relation to facts that are on trial here. The process is three years old, but the Public Ministry only this Friday constituted Rui Pinto as a defendant”, said the representative, who left criticism of what he said was a “perverse strategy” by the Public Ministry (MP).
The other defendant in this case, lawyer Aníbal Pinto, who is only responsible for the crime of attempting to extort Doyen, reaffirmed his conduct throughout the entire process at the conclusion of the final arguments, repeating the honesty of his actions: “Throughout I have never committed any crime in more than 60 years of life. For the sake of my defense, I would like it to be clear that at no time was my behavior criminally reprehensible”.
The MP asked for Rui Pinto to be sentenced to prison, noting that illegitimate access to the servers of the Portuguese Football Federation, the Attorney General’s Office and the PLMJ law firm (all assistants in the process) had been proven, admitting only that the computer sabotage of Sporting’s SAD has not been proven, as stated in the indictment.
Refusing to classify Rui Pinto as a whistleblower, prosecutor Marta Viegas also added that the attempt to extort Nélio Lucas, former CEO of the Doyen investment fund, was proven, a crime for which she argued that lawyer Aníbal Pinto should also be convicted by the court.
Rui Pinto, 34 years old, is responsible for a total of 90 crimes: 68 of improper access, 14 of violation of correspondence, six of illegitimate access, targeting entities such as Sporting, Doyen, the law firm PLMJ, the Portuguese Federation of Football (FPF) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), and also for computer sabotage to Sporting’s SAD and for extortion, in the attempted form. This last crime concerns Doyen and was what also led to the pronunciation of lawyer Aníbal Pinto.
The creator of Football Leaks has been free since August 7, 2020, “due to his collaboration” with the Judiciary Police (PJ) and his “critical sense”, but is, for security reasons, included in the witness protection at an undisclosed location and under police protection.