"Whistleblower of Football Leaks” arrested in Budapest

The Black Sea

A 30-year-old Portuguese national faces extradition to his home country, where police accuse him of attempted extortion and data theft

The lawyers of the detainee describe their client as a “great European whistleblower" and part of Football Leaks, who wanted to reveal criminal activity in football

Last night in Budapest, a 30-year-old Portuguese national was arrested following the issue of a European arrest warrant by the Portuguese law enforcement authorities.

A press release from the Polícia Judiciária, the Portuguese Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, stated the individual's possible offences to be, among others, attempted extortion and violation of secrecy. The Portuguese authorities are seeking his extradition to his home country.

The detainee's French lawyer, William Bourdon, who has also represented Edward Snowden and prominent whistleblowers Hervé Falciani and Antoine Deltour, described his client as a “very great European whistleblower and part of the Football Leaks” who wanted to show criminal activity in football to the world.

In a press release, Bourdon stated that the detainee is named Rui Pedro Gonçalves Pinto, and Bourdon has been mandated together with a Portuguese and a Hungarian lawyer to represent the whistleblower.

The European Investigative Collaborations (EIC Network), of which The Black Sea is a member, has published revelations based on documents from Football Leaks, centering on the illegal business in professional football.

These exposés have led to numerous investigations in various European countries in recent years. This includes the use of information from Football Leaks in enabling several European states to punish serious cases of tax evasion.

As a matter of principle and to protect sources, the EIC Network and its members do not comment on the identity of its possible sources.

Pinto has indicated to his lawyers how he has been “threatened” in recent years and various people have tried to “silence him by any means”, stated the press release from Bourdon.

The lawyers added that they will now do everything to prevent his extradition to Portugal, and they emphasised that Rui Pinto, as a whistleblower, is subject to special legal protection.

An international whistleblower foundation has also pledged to help the detained Portuguese national.

“The French American foundation The Signals Network has decided to provide its support, which includes legal support, to Rui Pinto. This decision has been approved by our board of directors,” said Delphine Halgand-Mishra, executive director of The Signals Network.

Among the board of directors is the whistleblower Antoine Deltour, who provided the documents used in the 'LuxLeaks' scandal.