Rui Pinto Receives Suspended Sentence: How a Hacker Accused of 90 Crimes Avoided Prison

Rui Pinto, sentenced this Monday to a four-year suspended sentence, benefited from the amnesty law, applied to 79 of the 90 crimes he had been accused of. The Portuguese hacker did not expect to be free, because he did not deny the crimes, but believed that the “public service” he considers to have provided would be taken into account by the Justice

Rui Pinto was sentenced this Monday to a single sentence of four years in prison, suspended upon execution. The court found the founder of Football Leaks guilty of the crimes of attempted extortion of the Doyen investment fund, three crimes of aggravated correspondence tampering with lawyers João Medeiros, Rui Costa Pereira and Inês Almeida Costa and five of illegitimate access to Doyen, Sporting , Portuguese Football Federation, PLMJ law firm and the Attorney General’s Office.

When leaving the court, opinions were divided. As the lawyer for the Portuguese Football Federation was satisfied with the sentenceRui Pinto’s defense considered that there were aspects of the ruling that needed a deeper analysis before deciding whether or not to appeal the sentenceand the former CEO of Doyen argued that the “penalty should have been more severe”.

However, the main question at the end of the trial remained just one: how does a defendant accused of 90 crimes escape with a four-year suspended sentence?

In an analysis on CNN Portugal, Sociedade editor Henrique Machado stated that “Pope Francis fell from the sky to Rui Pinto”, since the impact of the amnesty law approved as part of the Pope’s visit to Portugal resulted in its application to 79 of the 90 crimes that had been attributed to Rui Pinto.

“Pope Francis fell from the sky to Rui Pinto because it was the Pope’s presence in Portugal and the amnesty regarding the Pope’s arrival at World Youth Day that allowed Rui Pinto, despite practically all the facts that were included in the indictment, he ended up not being convicted by them. Because in 79 of these situations, despite being proven, Rui Pinto was amnestied and ended up not having to pay, not being convicted of committing these crimes. Because if he had been, very It would be difficult for the court, no matter how much it wanted, to sustain such a low sentence. In other words, Rui Pinto could not be sentenced to just four years in prison”, said Henrique Machado, also remembering that if the sentence were longer than five years would have to be effective.

For CNN Portugal’s Society editor, Rui Pinto’s defense “is satisfied” with the sentence, since “Rui Pinto will not return to prison, in the sense that he will not have to serve a sentence”. A scenario that will only change if “the Public Ministry appeals [da decisão] and the Court of Appeal reverses, in the sense of understanding that these years are to be served from the point of view of effective imprisonment or to increase the sentence”.

“But, for now, Rui Pinto is safeguarded by the amnesty that the Pope granted him and the same applies, it is important to mention, not only this case, but also other processes that are being carried out against Rui Pinto, for other computer intrusions against senior figures of Justice and also related to computer intrusions on Benfica’s servers. In this regard, you will also benefit from the amnesty, because these are facts that date back more or less to the same time period, therefore they are facts prior to the arrival of the Pope and Rui Pinto benefits from the fact that they are crimes with the same criminal framework.”

Henrique Machado also recalled that Rui Pinto had “a cooperative stance of collaboration with Justice”, which also served as a mitigating factor when the court determined the sentence. “Rui Pinto did not deny the crimes, because the physical evidence of these intrusions was actually there, the expert evidence, and he himself admits that he carried out computer intrusions. Therefore, when this is the case, the Court cannot acquit people. The Court can convict people with special mitigating factors that allow them to reach this outcome that we are witnessing here today, a suspended sentence.”

Also lawyer Rogério Alves, commentator CNN Portugal, considered that “the Court courageously sanctioned” the crimes committed by Rui Pinto and demonstrated that “the defendant’s conduct was wrong conduct”.

For the lawyer, the presiding judge of the case made the correct decision by waiting for the publication of the Amnesty since “it would not make any sense to be making a sentence that had to be changed two months later”. “It was a correct, sensible and appropriate attitude and, evidently, Amnesty swept, pardoned a series of crimes and just reflected that,” she noted, adding that “the conviction was very characterized and very affected by Amnesty.”

Defense leaves appeal open

Upon leaving the court, Francisco Teixeira da Mota, Rui Pinto’s lawyer, said that although it was already known that the sentence would be affected by the amnesty, he could not say that “the decision was expected”, since the defendant himself admitted guilt of their actions.

“It’s not an expected decision, I can’t say that, there would be people who were prepared for it to be like this, other people who were prepared in a different way. (…) Rui Pinto didn’t expect to be acquitted naturally because he himself had acknowledged having committed illegalities and had shown his regret. What he hoped was that the public service he provided would also be taken into account and I believe that this decision recognizes the existence of a public service”, explained the lawyer, adding that “it is a positive sign for the work that Rui Pinto developed in terms of defending the public interest, that there is no actual prison sentence, which was always a possible risk in legal terms”.

Teixeira da Mota also stated that he always considers amnesties “friendly”, but that it is only now that he will analyze whether or not it was well applied.

“I always think amnesties are nice, just as I always think the Pope’s coming here is nice, I always think it’s a positive thing, because I understand that serving prison sentences is often excessive. In the United States of America, amnesties are done merely to clear the prisons, to get people out, if there are too many people, they grant an amnesty. We here have the idea that amnesty is a very big danger, because there is a very repressive logic. Therefore, regarding the application of amnesty, now it is that we are going to study, we haven’t studied yet. Before they also asked me what I understood, that is, we were going to see and now from here we either agree or not”, he assumed, leaving open the possibility of appealing the sentence.

The former CEO of the Doyen investment fund considered that the suspended sentence of four years in prison imposed on Rui Pinto “could have been more severe”.

“For a long time, many people questioned what we said and that, in fact, there was an attempt at extortion and it was not successful, because we never intended to pay either. We wanted to seek out the criminals and bring them to justice. The court fully accepted our version of the facts. He was punished very well, I think it could have been a more severe sentence, but that was what the court understood”, lamented Nélio Lucas.

2023-09-11 07:00:00
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