Rui Pinto, the man behind the anonymous Football Leaks website which posted confidential transfer information, has been spared jail.

Pinto was given a suspended sentence by a Portuguese court on Monday, having been found guilty on five country of unauthorised entry into computer systems, one count of attempted extortion and three counts of intercepting correspondence for accessing emails, per Portuguese media.

He was convicted of hacking into computers belonging to the Doyen sports investment fund, the Portuguese attorney general’s office and a law firm in Lisbon.

The 34-year-old established the website (FootballLeaks) in 2015 and regularly disclosed information relating to transfer fees and contracts signed by top players.

While publishing alleged details from the contracts of Neymar, then playing for Barcelona, and Gareth Bale, who was at Real Madrid, there were also allegations made against both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain relating to financial irregularities.

Per Sky Sports, Judge Margarida Alves said: “The court decided Rui Pinto will be handed a single four-year sentence… but there is no need to serve the sentence in prison.”

“The court hopes that the regret (Rui Pinto has shown in court) is serious and that from now on he refrains from performing acts as described here.”

Pinto faced as many as 90 charges but argued that he was acting as a whistleblower. As such, the court only convicted him of the extortion crimes against Doyen. Per the Assoicated Press, Pinto’s lawyers helped lessen the charges by informing the court that his whistleblower antics, in the end, helped European authorities in many investigations with the now 34-year-old cooperating with authorities across Belgium, France, Switzerland and Malta.

In total, 77 counts of improper access and breach of correspondence were pardoned.

Pinto is yet to face trial in a second case, where he is being charged by Portuguese prosecutors in relation to 377 offenses related to hacking.


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