Rui Pinto, whom his lawyers called a ‘Whistleblower,’ has been known for his website “Football Leaks” on Monday, took the responsibility for revealing confidential documents on ‘Luanda Leaks’. In the new scandal, Pinto’s documents have exposed Angolan billionaire and former first daughter, Isabel dos Santos over mismanagement of the state’s funds.
Pinto: A Whistleblower
For over four years, Pinto who worked under pseudonym “John” in conjunction with Der Spiegel and other members of the media network known as the European Investigative Collaborators (EIC group), had revealed hundreds of thousands of confidential documents in his website “Football Leaks” which was created in September 2015. It was considered to be the largest leak in the history of sports which exposed several financial dealings and transactions including the tax evasion tricks in the world of European professional football.
On Monday, January 27, 2020, Pinto’s lawyers, William Bourdon and Francisco Teixeira da Mota revealed that their client, Pinto was taking the responsibility behind the exposing of the “Luanda Leaks”, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and released by several news organizations last week. Calling Pinto as a “Whistleblower,” the lawyers asserted that he did such exposure in the interest of the public.
The 31-year-old whistleblower is now facing the charge of 93 crimes which are related to the alleged concerns such as unauthorized access to data, attempted extortion, and violation of correspondence. In relation to the mentioned charges, Pinto was arrested in Budapest, Hungary, on 16 January 2019 at the request of the Portuguese authorities and now he is under the custody awaiting his trial in a Lisbon Jail.
Referring to the Luanda leaks, the lawyers stated, “Without the immense Luanda Leaks revelations, made possible thanks to our client, the regulatory, police and judicial authorities would have done nothing. Thanks and only thanks to our client, Portuguese citizens, and the world have access to the truth of an extraordinary system of predation and corruption.” The matter has been taken by Angola’s state prosecutor to investigate against the billionaire following the revelation of the documents.
Santos’ Involvement in $1.1 Billion State Funds
Following the initial Luanda Leaks media reports, Angolan prosecutor had named dos Santos and four Portuguese nationals over the suspect of mismanagement and misappropriation of state funds during dos Santos’ time as the chairwoman of Sonangol Group Co., the state-owned oil company.
On December 31, 2019, Angola’s state prosecutor exposed the documents and ordered to put an asset seize of Santos, her husband Sindika Dokolo, and business associate Mario Leite da Silva’s holdings in the country. The prosecutor had revealed that the Angola Government found enough evidence about the trio’s involvement in diverting $1.1 billion of state funds to the private firms in which they owned stakes.
As per Reuters, the lawyers said Pinto had handed over a hard drive “containing all data related to the recent revelations concerning Isabel dos Santos’ fortune, her family’s and all the actors that might be involved” to the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) at the end of 2018. PPLAAF then shared it with the ICIJ.
Angola’s attorney general (AG) Helder Pitta Groz told Portuguese broadcaster RTP on Friday last week, the Luanda Leaks documents revealed, “some operations and connections we weren’t sure were happening, and one or another we didn’t know about.” However, dos Santos repeatedly denied the allegation and said, “I always operated within the law and all my commercial transactions have been approved by lawyers, banks, auditors, and regulators.”
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