FootballOff the Pitch

Rui Pinto: I exposed Manchester City and others to clean football I am not a hacker

Rui Pinto has rejected the ‘hacker’ tag claiming he exposed Manchester City and others so he could clean up football.

The Portuguese is the man behind Football Leaks which was created in 2015 where clubs and individuals involved in tax fraud and breaching of FFP rules were exposed.

Pinto – who worked under the name John – is claimed to have got hold of 70 million documents and 3.4 terabytes of information, including personal emails.

Portuguese outside the court asking Rui Pinto to be freed

The Football Leaks scandal has seen the 31-year-old sent to prison, where he remains to this day awaiting a court case for his alleged crimes.

On Thursday, he was denied an appeal and will face trial for 90 different counts after exposing top sides and players from around Europe.

Pinto, who is accused of hacking sabotage and fraud, has been in jail since last March, while awaiting a verdict by the Lisbon Court of Appeal.

But it was his action that has forced Uefa into the unprecedented ban for the Etihad side, while also fining them nearly £25m.

He said: “I was aware that anything could happen.

“I knew that Portuguese authorities prosecute whistleblowers, so I had to be ready for that.

“The Portuguese authorities are afraid of what I know and that’s why it is important that I not lose my mind.

“In the beginning, I wrote notes related to the case in my notebook, but then it was taken from me.

“My lawyer was present when they searched my cell and said it was illegal to take my notes from me.

“It wasn’t the prison guards who did it, but the Portuguese prosecutors. They do anything they want.

“It was a month before they returned the notebook to me.”

Pinto insists his aim is to clean up football.

His first leak led to Dutch side FC Twente receiving a three-year ban from European football by the Dutch FA.

The leak exposed Twente’s failure to reveal full details of a third-party ownership contract with Malta-based Doyen Sports Investments.

Football Leaks also revealed details of transfers involving Radamel Falco, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.

Pinto said: “I don’t consider myself as a hacker, but a citizen who acted for public interest.

“My sole intention was to reveal illicit practices that affect the world of football.”

Pinto is still awaiting a date for his trial.

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