The architect and commentator of Porto Canal Pedro Bragança defended this Thursday in court the superior public interest of the revelations made by the website “Football Leaks”, considering that the form of access to information “goes into the background”.
“I do not mean that the way of obtaining information is irrelevant, but, given the dimension of public interest in these disclosures, the question of provenance takes second place”, said Pedro Bragança, clarifying: “I understand the existence of damage in the parts that see information released, but a balance must be produced between the value of the public interest and the damage that is caused ”.
On hearing held at the 39th session of the trial of the case “Football Leaks”, no Tribunal Central Criminal de Lisboa, a witness listed by the defense of Rui Pinto he also underlined that information that is not for disclosure and then ends up becoming public “had some form of potentially illegitimate access”, either through a worker of the target entity, or through “hacking”.
Pedro Bragança claimed to have contacted the creator of the electronic platform “in the beginning of 2019”, shortly after his identity was known, through social networks and that already last year, after Rui Pinto left the preventive prison, he met personally the main defendant in this case. From that contact, he admitted to having recognized “a genuine interest in helping in the clarification processes of these businesses”.
“He has developed a very considerable capacity in document analysis, information crossing and construction of very complex mind maps, which is very important in this type of business”, observed the witness, who defended the existence of “a before and an after” of “Football Leaks”.
The witness considered that “football is a phenomenon very exposed to a type of economic and financial crime, because they are businesses in which the value is very difficult to objectify and suffers from problems of transparency”.
Stressing not having knowledge of how Rui Pinto would have had access to the documents, Pedro Bragança also expressed his conviction that he always had the “idea that we would be in front of a group of people” at the origin of the ‘Football Leaks’ revelations, although he guaranteed not to have any “concrete information” about it.
Asked about possible connections between the electronic platform created by Rui Pinto and the blog ‘Mercado de Benfica’, the witness pointed out the existence of clear differences.
“In the typology there is no similarity. While in the ‘Football Leaks’ documents were revealed in isolation, in the ‘Mercado de Benfica’ the information was placed non-surgically and in a massive way. This blog made massive revelations about Benfica, aimed specifically at a football club. And while in ‘Football Leaks’ there were texts to take a position on the issues, in ‘Mercado de Benfica’ I think it was raw information ”, he said.
Apart from the facts of this process, the Porto Canal commentator also confessed to having recently given information to Rui Pinto regarding the possible participation of the creator of “Football Leaks” in the parliamentary inquiry committee to Novo Banco.
“It is a topic that personally interests me a lot and I know that it is a topic that also interests Rui Pinto. I have already given you information, documentation that I myself have received and that has been entrusted to me. I know that he has this capacity for analysis and I forwarded it so that he could enrich his testimony in the committee of inquiry. I could turn that information into knowledge and make it public on the commission, ”he said, ensuring that he also passed“ part of the information to a member ”of the commission, as well as to a journalist.
Rui Pinto, 32 years old, responds for a total of 90 crimes: 68 of improper access, 14 of violation of correspondence, six of illegitimate access, targeting entities such as Sporting, Doyen, the law firm PLMJ, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), and also for computer sabotage to Sporting’s SAD and extortion, in the form tried. This last crime concerns Doyen and was also what led to the pronunciation of the lawyer Aníbal Pinto.
The creator of Football Leaks has been free since August 7, “due to his collaboration” with the Judiciary Police (PJ) and his “critical sense”, but he is, for security reasons, included in the program for the protection of witnesses in an undisclosed location and under police protection.