Football Leaks 'hacker' accuses Portuguese of seeking to silence him

Rui Pinto

Rui Pinto, the Portuguese national responsible for the release of documents about world football that became known as "Football Leaks", has accused the authorities in his own country of wanting to silence him, denying being a "hacker or criminal".

In an interview with German magazine 'Der Spiegel', Pinto criticised what he said was "Portuguese propaganda" portraying him as "a criminal, a hacker", and said it was important for the European authorities to investigate the information he has on his computer.

"I can't reveal what I have on my computer, but I think the European authorities should see what I have," he said. "Not the Portuguese authorities, because they do not want to investigate the crimes, they just want to use what I found to accuse me and use it against me."

Pinto said that he had been "collaborating with the French authorities and initiating another collaboration with the Swiss authorities", when "Portugal sabotaged everything" as the result of "a leak of information from the largest national law firm" (PLMJ).

"What was just a simple order for an investigation at European level turned into a European arrest warrant against me - it was shocking," he said. "They created all this international confusion. They're afraid I know too much and will share what they think I know with journalists or other countries.

"Portugal just wants to silence me and hide what I have on my laptop," he went on. "They're afraid."

Pinto, who is in house arrest in Budapest after being detained two weeks ago, described himself as a whistleblower, not a hacker, inisting that "the Football Leaks documents are true".

Pinto, who is alleged to have hacked emails to and from Lisbon club Benfica, states that he has never targeted "specifically this or that club, federation or country" but that "if I have information about a particular football club, why should not share it with the media?"

Though he is a fan of FC Porto, he said, that fact never "prevented him from sharing or publishing relevant information".