Rui Pinto, the man behind the Football Leaks website, who is awaiting trial for attempted blackmail in Portugal, is under house arrest having been released from custody on Wednesday.
Pinto’s lawyers have confirmed the 31-year-old “is now the subject of house arrest and is banned from using the internet”, having spent more than a year at Lisbon’s Judiciary Police prison.
The lawyers, Francisco Teixeira da Mota and William Bourdon, say he is a “very important European whistleblower”. Pinto provided some of the evidence that led to Manchester City’s Champions League ban after the club were found to have seriously misled Uefa and broken financial fair play rules, a decision they have appealed against to the court of arbitration for sport. He has also supplied evidence to numerous investigations into tax evasion and corruption in football and beyond.
“Rui Pinto’s defence welcomes this decision and trusts that further steps will be taken for the freedom of our client,” the lawyers added.
Pinto was extradited from Hungary in March 2019 for allegedly attempting to blackmail an investment fund. His lawyers have since filed a complaint to the European Commission over inconsistencies in the original arrest warrant that accused Pinto of only six offences before that was increased to 147 while he was in custody. That was reduced to 90 at the start of February. He faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.
Pinto has supplied around 70 million documents and 3.4 terabytes of information including tax returns and personal emails from some of the sport’s most influential figures to authorities in France and Belgium and was recently unveiled as the source of the Luanda Leaks, which exposed the inner workings of the business empire of Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos.