Football Leaks: The hacker behind this incident strikes again

A controversial story has kept the attention of the cybersecurity community. Legal advisers of a Portuguese hacker claim that their client is responsible for disclosing multiple illegal businesses of Isabel dos Santos, a tycoon born in Angola who has allegedly been involved in acts of corruption with consequences Europe and Africa. 

According to the lawyers, the hacker Rui Pinto, 31, handed a hard drive containing multiple files related to Isabel dos Santos and her incredible fortune, obtained somewhat suspiciously, to a whistleblower organization.

Isabel is the daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, former president of Angola, and faces multiple accusations of corruption linked to her country’s oil and mining industry. Isabel dos Santos, based in London, has repeatedly denied such accusations.

Some members of the cybersecurity community consider Rui Pinto to be somewhat a cyberactivist with a special focus on the world of sports. In the past, Pinto was linked to the incident known as Football Leaks, a campaign to leak information about footballer transfers and financial operations involving the most important clubs in European football.

These leaks were published in 2015 by multiple media outlets in Europe and the rest of the world. In addition, law enforcement agencies in Britain and France began criminal investigations related to this information.

However, not everyone in the world of cybersecurity considers Pinto a hero, as shortly after the revelations of Football Leaks, the hacker was arrested in Hungary and charged with hacking against Doyen, an investing company. The firm also accuses Pinto of blackmail, as the hacker would have demanded money in exchange for not disclosing this information, obtained unlawfully.

Although Pinto’s defense argues that the hacker’s intention always was to disclose the information without making profits, a Portuguese court decided to pursue the legal process against him, which involves 90 criminal charges.

Apparently, the intention of Pinto’s lawyers is to reach an agreement with the Portuguese prosecutors, arguing that the hacker’s collaboration was essential in bringing a case against Isabel dos Santos.

The International Cyber Security Institute (IICS) mentions that the organization mentioned by Pinto’s defense is the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a new York-based research group that has collaborated in other similar cases, such as the well-known Panama Papers tax evasion case, back in 2016.