Rui Pinto, the man behind the “Football leaks”, will be tried on Wednesday in Paris for having downloaded attachments and information contained in emails from managers of the Paris Saint-Germain football club, AFP has learned Monday from sources close to the matter.
This 35-year-old Portuguese is the source of the “Football leaks” revelations, a gigantic leak of information which deeply shook the football world.
On Wednesday, he will be tried before the criminal court during an appearance hearing on prior recognition of guilt (CRPC), a sort of French-style guilty plea.
More precisely, he is accused of having, between 2015 and 2019, in France, Portugal and Hungary, fraudulently accessed the mailboxes of the financial director of PSG, the deputy general director and a general management assistant, according to a source close to the case.
He is also accused of having fraudulently extracted data.
“No one can dispute that Rui Pinto is an exceptional whistleblower,” his lawyer William Bourdon told AFP.
“It allowed the revelation of facts seriously contrary to the general interest and the opening of investigations in several European countries. This contribution has been recognized, including by the Portuguese courts, while he continues to be persecuted by the football thugs.”
Contacted, PSG's lawyer, Antoine Maisonneuve, did not wish to react.
These leaks notably led to the opening of a preliminary investigation in Paris, targeting PSG: the club was accused of having included ethnic criteria in its evaluation sheets for young players, between 2013 and 2018. The investigation had been dismissed in August 2022 “for lack of a sufficiently serious offense”. But a complaint with the constitution of a civil party, filed last February, could relaunch the investigations.
Transmitted to a consortium of European investigative media, the wealth of information resulting from the “Football leaks” highlighted questionable practices involving star players, clubs and agents, which were then subject to tax adjustments and judicial investigations in several countries.
Rui Pinto is also behind the “Luanda Leaks”, an investigation published in January 2020 accusing businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, of having accumulated an immense fortune of fraudulent manner during the reign of his father.
Portuguese justice sentenced him in September to a suspended sentence of four years' imprisonment.
Both accused and protected witness, the young man claimed the role of whistleblower during his trial, but admitted to having committed illegal computer intrusions to obtain millions of documents.