Alleged Soccer Leaks Source Released from Custody

A Portuguese computer whiz accused of leaking a series of confidential documents belonging to various soccer clubs has been released from custody.

Rui Pinto has been moved to a safe house in Portugal after spending 18 months behind lock and key while he awaits his trial before a Portuguese court. 

The 32-year-old was arrested in Hungary in March 2019 on charges related to hacking, violation of correspondence, computer sabotage, illegitimate access, and attempted extortion. Pinto had been resident in Hungary for four years at the time of his arrest.

Portugal state broadcaster RTP and other media reported that Pinto was released from police custody in Lisbon late Friday.

Pinto's removal to a safe house at the behest of Judge Margarida Alves follows intervention in the defendant's case by Luís Neves, the head of Portugal's Policia Judiciaria. 

In a June interview with Diário de Notícias, Neves described Pinto as a young man with serious concerns for society. The police chief then called for a change to the law to protect whistleblowers who cooperate with the justice system to expose organized crime and corruption.

Further support for Pinto's cause came from Albano Pinto, director of the central department of criminal investigation and penal action (DCIAP). In July, Albano Pinto, who is no relation of Rui Pinto, praised the accused for his “total availability and spontaneity to get to the truth.”

The Observador reported that Pinto cooperated with Portuguese police by unlocking access codes for all the electronic devices to which he had access. 

Pinto was initially accused by Portugal's Public Ministry of committing 147 crimes, but following his collaboration with DCIAP, some of the charges against Rui Pinto were dropped.

The accused is currently awaiting trial for 90 crimes, including 6 counts of illegitimate access, one count of computer sabotage, 14 counts of violation of correspondence, 68 counts of undue access and one count of attempted extortion.

The prosecutor in Pinto's case disagreed with Judge Alves' decision to release the defendant. According to Observador, the prosecutor fears that by having access to the internet, Pinto "may destroy evidence or even continue criminal activity."

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