LISBON – Football ‘(anti)hero’ case sparks whistleblower debate

Seen as a ‘hero’ for some and a ‘villain’ for others, the creator of Football Leaks, Rui Pinto, will know this Monday how many crimes he will be tried for. The country’s whistleblower laws will be put to the test in what is an unparalleled case for Portugal.

Following his arrest in Hungary, Pinto was extradited to Portugal under the European Arrest Warrant for allegedly committing 147 counts of illegitimate access, violation of correspondence, computer sabotage and attempted extortion.

However, because the 31-year computer specialist has also exposed alleged illegal practices and potential schemes of tax evasion committed by names in the football industry, the case has provoked an international debate on the ‘whistleblower’ concept, as well as the balance between the right of privacy of people and companies.

The debate gained further momentum with the EU Parliament’s adoption of a whistleblower protection directive in April 2019, which aims to protect those who warn of possible breaches of EU law in various areas, including money laundering and tax fraud.

Full story, in English and Portuguese here

(João Godinho and Jorge Afonso Silva,

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