Alleged Source of Soccer Leaks to Stand Trial
The alleged source of a series of information leaks that rocked soccer and sparked an FFP investigation into the finances of Manchester City Football Club is to be tried before a Portuguese court.
An appeal lodged by Portuguese national Rui Pinto to have the accusations against him dismissed as “unfounded” was rejected earlier this month by the Lisbon Court of Appeal. The 31-year-old, who has been held in jail since his arrest in March 2019, will now stand trial on 93 charges related to hacking, violation of correspondence, computer sabotage, illegitimate access, and attempted extortion.
Pinto is accused of gaining unauthorized access to the email accounts of a number of football clubs throughout Europe. It is further alleged that Pinto sent information pilfered from those clubs to German media for publication.
Revelations allegedly leaked by Pinto regarding the English Premier League football club Manchester City prompted the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to open an investigation to determine whether the club breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
The investigation is ongoing, with a result expected from UEFA’s adjudicatory chamber in the next few months. If evidence of a breach is detected, Manchester City could be expelled from the Champions League. The club, which denies the allegations, will be allowed to appeal against whatever decision UEFA reaches.
Information allegedly leaked by Pinto seemed to reveal that Manchester City had falsely inflated the amount of money it was making in sponsorship deals secured from firms linked to its Abu Dhabi ownership. If the deception proves to be true, then the club will have been caught out in a deliberate attempt to circumvent UEFA’s financial fair play rules.
To share the information allegedly obtained from various football clubs, Pinto created the website Football Leaks. Pinto is accused of using this platform to share illegally obtained secret transfer documents and players’ contracts.
According to a press release put out by his own lawyers, Pinto is also the source of leaked documents that led the Angolan justice system to accuse Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, of mismanagement and embezzlement when she was an administrator of the state oil company Sonangol.