Sports

Hungary puts suspected Football Leaks hacker under house arrest

Saturday, January 19, 2019

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AFP) — A hacker said to have a key role in the Football Leaks website was placed under house arrest in Hungary pending an extradition request from his native Portugal, his lawyer said yesterday.

Rui Pinto, 30, was initially detained by police on Wednesday after a warrant was issued from Portugal, where prosecutors suspect him of “aggravated attempted extortion”.

Pinto's lawyers have said he is an “important part” of the Football Leaks whistleblower website, which has published several revelations about alleged wrongdoing in the football industry.

Pinto's Hungarian lawyer David Deak said the extradition hearing would now have to be held within 60 days, although he expected it to take place “within 20 to 40 days”.

“It's very hard to avoid extradition to another EU member... but we will try our best to avoid it,” Deak told AFP, adding that his client “thinks he will not get a fair trial in Portugal for many reasons”.

While waiting for the hearing Pinto will not be able to leave his house and will have to wear a GPS tracker on his leg, Deak said.

According to Portuguese media, Pinto is a self-taught IT expert from the Porto suburb of Vila Nova de Gaia and has been living in Budapest for several years.

On Thursday, Pinto's French lawyers described him as “a young Portuguese man who loves football and who, out of disgust at practices that he gradually became aware of, decided to reveal to the world the extent of criminal practices which not only affect the football world, but do grave damage to its image”.

“These are the Football Leaks revelations which over several years have given rise to the publication of crucial information, resulting in several investigations,” the lawyers said.

Notably in 2016, a consortium of several European media organisations used material from Football Leaks to expose alleged tax evasion in the football world, including by Cristiano Ronaldo when he was at Real Madrid.

His lawyers claim Pinto has been the subject of numerous threats from those who seek to silence him.


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