Portuguese Hacker Rui Pinto Convicted with Suspended Sentence for Crimes

Rui Pinto had no criminal record, was young (less than 30 years old), showed remorse and collaborated with several judicial authorities in the fight against corruption. These were the arguments, in summary form, invoked by judge Margarida Alves to, this Monday, condemn the defendant for nine crimes and four years in prison, but only with a suspended (and not effective) sentence. There were 90 crimes at stake, but the list was soon reduced to just nine, as the Portuguese hacker benefited from the amnesty granted by the law approved in July, due to the Pope’s arrival at World Youth Day.

Exactly four years after the accusation, One of the most publicized trials in recent years, results in the conviction of computer hacker Rui Pinto, now 34 years old and covered by the witness protection program. But a conviction that sounds like freedom (due to the suspended sentence) of also a Football Clube do Porto fan who – from 2015 to 2019 – illegitimately accessed emails from sports clubs (Sporting and Benfica), their respective directors (Bruno de Carvalho and Jorge Jesus ), renowned lawyers (one of them, João Medeiros, lawyer for Sport Lisboa e Benfica) and even the Portuguese Football Federation and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR).

In other words: the judge, who will be the same one to judge José Sócrates within the scope of Operation Marquês, supported her thesis of applying only a suspended sentence in the testimony of the National Director of the PJ, carried out during the trial, when he stated that there was “ an evolution of Rui Pinto between the moment he began to be the solitary author of a blog and the moment in which he intends to disclose the documents he had in his possession to journalists; he thinks that he no longer wanted to be a “simple document thief, but a citizen who acts in the name of the public interest”.

Rui Pinto sentenced to four years suspended sentence

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More: the defendant has already been deprived of liberty for more than one again (in preventive detention) which, “certainly, made him reflect on the seriousness of his conduct, so we believe it is possible to formulate a favorable prognosis judgment that from now on he will conform to his will in accordance with the law and values legal regulations in force and that the situation assessed in the processhe will not have passed a serious, but completely overcome, phase of his life.”

Rui Pinto was convicted, as part of the Football Leaks case, to two years for the crime of extortion, from one year and three months to one year and six months for illegitimate access and from six to nine months for mail tampering. The reading of the ruling took place this Monday, at the Central Criminal Court of Lisbon. The panel of judges highlighted that the defendant actually intended to extort Doyen and proved the violation of correspondence with PLMJ, PGR and the Portuguese Football Federationl but the violation of correspondence with Sporting, Bruno de Carvalho and Jorge Jesus was not proven.

The hacker was also amnestied for 11 crimes of simple correspondence violation, 68 crimes of improper access (for disregarding the aggravation) and acquitted of computer sabotage. In short, of the 90 crimes he was accused of, he will only serve a four-year suspended sentence.

But, despite this decision – which left defense lawyer Francisco Teixeira da Mota satisfied – the magistrate, in a way of contradiction, explains in the almost 600-page ruling – to which ECO had access – that the crimes committed by the defendant Rui Pinto did not are the “the result of an occasional and fortuitous act, but rather as the result of a consistent and reflected activity, attentive to the organized, meticulous and structured way in which it acted over a period of time of almost four years”.

Crimes committed with a “ingenious modus operandi, using anonymization, requiring far above average computer skills”, which makes it necessary to “conclude that we are faced with more than a simple accumulation of infractions, highlighting a personality with a certain propensity to practice this type of criminal activity, denoting a non-compliance with the rules for protecting the privacy of others and with the values ​​protected by criminal law, factors that cannot fail to be considered.”

The judge – helped by two other judges from the collective – also argued that Rui Pinto disclosed information “with public relevance” but, then immediately said that this same information had “relevance to some type of public”, and that he disclosed “curiosities” and decided that “regarding the part of the information he had accessed, whose relevance to society he was not unaware of, he would hand it over to journalists and judicial entities”. Recalling that the defendant was also tried and convicted of the crime of extortion. In other words: an attempt to obtain profit from this criminal activity.

Rui Pinto’s sentence “could have been more severe”

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“We are not unaware of the consequences of part of his actions, the contribution they had to the transparency of certain matters, to the initiation or development of criminal investigations, nor the personal and behavioral evolution that he demonstrated after the commission of the facts. However, the totality of the factuality given as proven means that the illegality of the facts is high, as is the guilt”.

Rui Pinto was accused of crimes against Sporting, Doyen, the law firm PLMJ, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), and also for computer sabotage of Sporting’s SAD and extortion , in attempted form. This last crime concerns Doyen and was what also led to the indictment of lawyer Aníbal Pinto.

Hours after reading the decision, on the social network Twitter, Rui Pinto said that he listened “carefully to the summary of the sentence handed down today, and naturally there are things that I agree with, things that I disagree with, pertinent things and unreasonable things. I will have a lot to say about this decision, but today will not be the day. It is a chapter that closes, and the fight will continue.”

Among those targeted are Jorge Jesus, Bruno de Carvalho, the then director of DCIAP Amadeu Guerra and lawyers José Miguel Júdice, João Medeiros, Rui Costa Pereira and Inês Almeida Costa, all former PLMJ lawyers. The Public Ministry (MP) had an effective prison sentence.

2023-09-12 06:04:39
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