Rui Pinto Football Leaks Trial Starts In Portugal

Some of the data contributed to Uefa's case against Manchester City, whose Champions League ban was later lifted. The leaks to the media began in 2016.

Rui Pinto/Picture Courtesy: BBC

The man who exposed many dubious deals involving top football clubs, agents and players in the “Football Leaks” case has gone on trial in Portugal.

Rui Pinto, 31, describes himself as a “whistleblower” rather than a “hacker”, saying he acted to expose corruption in football. Millions of documents were leaked, triggering legal inquiries.

Some of the data contributed to Uefa’s case against Manchester City, whose Champions League ban was later lifted. The leaks to the media began in 2016.

There will be at least three court sessions per week until December at Lisbon’s central criminal court, Reuters news agency reports.
Rui Pinto’s house arrest was lifted last month and he is under a witness protection scheme, meaning he has heavy police protection for his own safety.

What was Football Leaks?

The website – like a football version of Wikileaks – provided millions of documents and more than 3.4 terabytes of information to media outlets in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium, a network of journalists.
Hundreds of articles were written based on the leaked confidential data, which alleged cases of tax evasion and dubious deals involving some top football clubs and star players. Judicial investigations were launched in France, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.
The revelations raised questions about the degree of control exercised by football’s governing bodies, with allegations that huge transfer deals and club investments were poorly policed.
The data showed how wealthy Gulf Arab individuals and organisations now exercise strong influence over some top European clubs, and the role of offshore tax havens in football transactions.
The powerful Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes was among those investigated.
Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, formerly of Real Madrid, is one of Mr Mendes’ top clients. Cristiano Ronaldo was investigated for tax evasion and in January he agreed to pay a fine of €18.8m (£16.7m) in Spain.
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