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Computer hacker involved in Manchester City’s 115 Premier League charges handed suspended prison sentence



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Rui Pinto – the Portuguese computer hacker whose release of documents led directly to Manchester City’s Premier League charges – has received a suspended prison sentence.

The 34-year-old former history student and self-taught computer mastermind set up the Football Leaks website in 2015 to share confidential documents such as transfer fees or deals between sports entities.

Rui Pinto was originally arrested in Hungary back in January 2019, however he was later freed from house arrest and put under witness protection. The trial – which has now led to a suspended prison sentence – started in September 2020.

Pinto’s release of a significant cache of documents led directly to Manchester City being charged with 115 rule breaches by the Premier League earlier this year.

Manchester City strongly deny any wrongdoing, and state that they have “irrefutable evidence” that will clear them of the aforementioned charges.

Earlier this summer, Premier League CEO Richard Masters said that the league’s charges against both Manchester City and Everton are now out of the division’s control, with both cases in the hands of an independent tribunal.

As such, it is now for them to dictate a timescale on resolving matters.

A panel of three judges have now found Rui Pinto guilty of nine offences and imposed a suspended prison sentence of four years.

As highlighted in a report from The Times on the outcome of the trial, there is also a second case against Pinto, which is yet to go to court, in which Portuguese prosecutors are accusing him of 377 other hacking-related crimes.

The aforementioned nine offences do include some of the most serious accusations, including one count of attempted extortion. Pinto was also found guilty of five counts of unauthorised entry into computer systems and three counts of intercepting emails.

Judge Margarida Alves said at a court in Lisbon this week, “The court decided Rui Pinto will be handed a single four-year sentence… but there is no need to serve the sentence in prison. The court hopes that the regret (Rui Pinto has shown in court) is serious and that from now on he refrains from performing acts as described here.”