KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Rui Pinto, the self-proclaimed hacker behind the Football Leaks revelations, has lost his fight against extradition from Hungary to his native Portugal.
The 30-year-old’s ‘assistance’ is wanted by the judicial services of at least nine countries over allegations emanating from his activities concerning tax evasion by clubs, agents and players and possible breaches of European federation UEFA’s financial fair play rules.
A suspected hacker involved with the Football Leaks website will be extradited to his native Portugal after a ruling in a Hungarian court.
Pinto was placed under house arrest in his adopted home of Budapest on January 16 on a European arrest warrant issued by the Portuguese authorities investigating charges of extortion, data theft and breach of confidentiality. He has denied the charges and his lawyers have said he will appeal against the ruling.
Judge Judit Csiszar, at Budapest’s Metropolitan Court, said: “The extradition request cannot be refused. European Union member states are expected to have similar judicial standards.”
Pinto has said himself that his investigation into football business began with his curiosity over the relationship about the ties between the investment fund Doyen and top Portuguese clubs Benfica, Sporting and Porto.
Around 70 million documents were delivered to Football Leaks and more than 3.4 terabytes of information to media outlets in the European Investigative Collaborations consortium led by German news magazine Der Spiegel and including Reuters news agency and The Sunday Times.
Pinto has stated that his allegations about the business affairs of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City among other clubs have led to death threats against himself and his family.
He has said: “I should be on a witness protection scheme as exists for whistleblowers elsewhere in Europe. Instead, the Portuguese authorities are treating me like a criminal. It is in their interest that something bad happens to me.”
Investigators in other countries are concerned that Pinto’s detention in Portugal might bring a halt to their own investigations into financial misconduct in European football.