Portuguese national Rui Pinto, 31, is set to stand trial accused of unlawfully accessing emails and leaking private details that led to financial fair play investigation into Manchester City FC’s finances.
Pinto, who has been held in custody since his arrest in March 2019, is said to have gained unauthorised access to email accounts of numerous European football clubs throughout Europe and subsequently shared information obtained from the emails to a German news agency.
Prosecutors claim Pinto also created the website, Football Leaks, in order to share stolen information. The site was used to share illegally obtained confidential player transfer documents and contracts of employment.
His legal team attempted to have the case against him quashed but this was rejected by the Lisbon Court of Appeal on the 4th of February 2020. He will now stand trial on 93 charges related to hacking, computer sabotage, illegitimate access, violation of correspondence and attempted extortion.
Since Pinto allegedly leaked information regarding Manchester City FC, an investigation into the club’s financial affairs has led to it being banned from the Champions League for two years. The leaked details supposedly revealed that the club had falsely inflated the amount of money it was generating through sponsorship deals secured from companies linked to its Abu Dhabi ownership, although the club intends to appeal the ban.
A statement from Manchester City FC read: “The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.
“In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun. The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The Club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling.
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“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgement as quickly as possible and will, therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the CAS at the earliest opportunity.”
According to a statement released by his own lawyers, Pinto was the source of leaked documents that led the Angolan justice system accusing Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, of embezzlement and mismanagement when she was an administrator of state oil company Sonangol.