The Man Who Exposed Manchester City's Financial Issues Is In Prison
Rui Pinto is the hacker who was made famous by Football Leaks, the website that exposed Manchester City's financial dealings, and he is in jail awaiting trial.
Football Leaks brought attention to City's breaking of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations, as well as putting the spotlight on transfer and financial deals of other clubs, via German newspaper Der Spiegel.
Yesterday's UEFA ruling, to ban the Premier League champions from European competition for the next two years, might have been seen as a victory for Pinto but the Portuguese hacker is in prison.
According to the Daily Mail, Pinto faces 90 different counts of hacking, sabotage and fraud in his home country, has been in prison since March 2019, and was denied appeal on Thursday.
The news about City on Friday led to the hashtag 'Free Pinto' trending on Twitter:
Football Leaks have been the best thing to happen to football. Feel so bad the whistleblower rui pinto is wasting away in prison for releasing all these documents and emails from these clubs which are now being used to bring them to "justice".- LFC Views (@Mobyhaque1) February 14, 2020
Rui Pinto's imprisonment and scapegoating summarizes the corruption football governing bodies have amassed#freepinto- Skywoman:airplane: (@Skywomanhub) February 15, 2020
#freepinto- Ghirish Ramsawock (@TSAR22) February 15, 2020
If not for Pinto's 'hacking', man city would have gotten away with breaking financial fair play, even with the so called investigators carrying out their jobs. So, release Pinto.
#freepinto because monitors do not always find foul play. Compliance missed Man City so whistleblowers should be protected, not jailed.- Jason Cobine (@jasoncobine) February 15, 2020
Pinto got access to over 70 million documents that proved all sorts of misdemeanours by a range of clubs and recently told Der Spiegel he was aware that he could end up in prison, "I was aware that anything could happen. I knew that Portuguese authorities prosecute whistleblowers, so I had to be ready for that," he told the German outlet.
"'The Portuguese authorities are afraid of what I know and that's why it is important that I not lose my mind.
"In the beginning, I wrote notes related to the case in my notebook, but then it was taken from me. My lawyer was present when they searched my cell and said it was illegal to take my notes from me.
"It wasn't the prison guards who did it, but the Portuguese prosecutors. They do anything they want. It was a month before they returned the notebook to me."
Many fans will see Pinto as a hero of football rather than a criminal.