The director of the French website Mediapart, Edwy Plenel, assured this Thursday that Rui Pinto it did not interfere in the work of the European consortium of investigative journalists that worked on reporting the ‘Football Leaks’, ‘Malta Files’ or ‘Luanda Leaks’ cases.
At the hearing during the 37th session of the trial of the case ‘Football Leaks‘, at the Central Court of Criminal Instruction, in Lisbon, the French journalist also expressed his conviction that “it is only one person” who owes “the release of these documents” and that he only knew that Rui Pinto was behind the platform electronics after lawyer William Bourdon’s announcement. And he stressed that Rui Pinto “never demanded to control the work” performed.
There is an awareness that translates into the transition from a simple blog to the dissemination of information. We dealt with the documents released by ‘John’, who later turned out to be Rui Pinto. The documents served as the basis for our investigations.s”, indicated the witness, who then added: “Rui Pinto did not want to be a simple thief of documents, but a citizen who acted in the public interest.”
According to Edwy Plenel, “more than 70 million confidential documents” arrived at the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium – which Mediapart, among other European media is part of. The information came via the German journalist Rafael Buschmann, from Der Spiegel, who had ‘John’ as a source, with Edwy Plenel ensuring that the documents were not already structured for the journalists’ analysis.
The documents were delivered without any indication or prior organization. We would choose according to the public interest”, noted, without failing to clarify: “In essence, these documents contain information of public interest. This source has not yet been explored by the media or by justice. We still have to make this separation.”
About the cases ‘Luanda Leaks’ and ‘Malta Files’, revealed later in relation to Football Leaks’, Edwy Plenel noted that he was never aware of the origin of the documents. However, he expressed the idea that they “showed what was happening in terms of tax evasion and corruption with the coverage of law firms and tax havens”.
Rui Pinto, 32, is responsible 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 Federation of Football (FPF) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), and also for computer sabotage to Sporting’s SAD and extortion, as attempted. This last crime concerns Doyen and it was also what led to the prosecution of 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.