Hackers once shocked the football world

Not rival players or coaches, the biggest threat to many of Europe’s football giants over the past eight years has turned out to be just a baby-faced history graduate with the same car. laptop.

Until the end of 2013, the name Rui Pinto was still unfamiliar to the world. At that time he was just a graduate student in history at the University of Porto and had just finished a semester through an exchange program with the University of Budapest.

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Rui Pinto is the hacker behind Football Leaks, a website dedicated to revealing the secrets of the football world. Image: ECO.

In 2015, Rui Pinto was known by the nickname John – hacker behind Football Leaks, a website dedicated to revealing the secrets of the football world.

First hack

Pinto lives with his father, stepmother and younger sister in Vila Nova de Gaia, a town adjacent to Porto, the second largest city in Portugal. Born in a country passionate about football, it is not difficult to understand when growing up, Pinto was fascinated by the sport of kings.

“I always take notes every time I watch a Portuguese game. I would draw the team’s jersey, write down the starting lineup, the results, the scorers and everything,” Pinto said.

It was not until his early 20s that Pinto became interested in computers. Despite not being properly trained, the guy persevered and taught himself hacking techniques.

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At the age of 20, Pinto taught himself hacking techniques. Image: Lux24.

Before deciding to target clubs, international sports funds, brokerages or law firms, Pinto knew how to use computer skills to his advantage.

According to a lawsuit filed in Portugal by Caledonian Bank, a foreign company registered in the Cayman Islands, on September 13, 2013, someone gained access to the server that hosts all the emails and took over permissions for all customer accounts.

On September 18, 2013, this person accessed an account and ordered an international transfer of the amount 46,857 USD into a Deutsche Bank account in Lisbon.

Less than a month later, the same hacker took over another account and requested a transfer of up to 310,000 USD to the same account.

Subsequent judicial records did not provide any explanation to prove that Rui Pinto was involved in this hacked money. However, there is evidence that he actually spent some of it.

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After tinkering, Pinto performed his first hack into Caledonian bank, an offshore company registered in the Cayman Islands. Image: Shifter.

Specifically, the report from the bank revealed that before Pinto received the first transfer amount, he had only 31.67 euros in his account. However, in early November, when lawyers froze Pinto’s bank account, they discovered that the student had more than 33,671 euros in the account.

Several sources involved in the investigation revealed that Caledonian Bank had decided to settle the settlement to avoid public disclosure, not only of the identity of its customers, but also the fact that their systems were compromised. can easily be attacked by a novice hacker like Pinto.

The one who shocked the football world

After reaching an agreement with Caledonian Bank, Rui Pinto was no longer noticed by the authorities. With a clean criminal record in Portugal, he moved to Budapest (Hungary).

No one knew that this sidekick hacker would then change the world of football. According to the investigation of the Portuguese judicial police, at the end of September 2015, Pinto hacked the email accounts of the Board of Directors and the legal department of Sporting Lisbon Club and the server of Doyen Sports, the company that bought the ownership rights of many people. player.

Later, Pinto began to publish documents on a website called Football Leaks. “Welcome to Football Leaks.

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In 2015, the world football village stirred when a series of secret documents about hidden corners were exposed by Football Leaks. Image: The Black Sea.

This project was created to reveal the hidden corners of world football. Unfortunately, the sport we love has rotted and it’s time to clear things up,” reads in Portuguese on the club’s website. Football Leaks.

The site then went viral when it posted a series of player and coach contracts revealing exactly how much money they earned and in many cases the involvement of third-party owners – a practice banned by FIFA.

From the original documents, a series of European football giants such as Atletico Madrid, Porto, Benfica, Sporting, Monaco, Marseille, Sevilla, Valencia and FC Twente were named.

By December 2015, the Dutch team Twente was banned from playing in Europe for 3 years and was fined nearly 300,000 USD after Football Leaks revealed the club had a third-party ownership agreement with player management company Doyen Sports. Two years later, the 2010 Dutch league champions were relegated.

The shocking secrets were revealed

These revelations are just the tip of the iceberg. In 2016, a man claiming to be John provided Der Spiegela German investigative journal, the volume of data is up to 1.9 terabytes, equivalent to 500,000 Bibles.

This data includes emails, contracts and other documents that expose shameful behavior among the global soccer elite, the world’s king sport.

Since starting this work, Pinto has disclosed more than 70 million records and 3.4 terabytes of information related to tax refunds and personal emails of many influential sports organizations around the world.

By collaborating with Der Spiegel (Germany) magazine, Pinto revealed many cases of tax evasion, extortion brokers or the most famous was rape allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo, the most famous player in the world at the time. . In Europe, the impact of Football Leaks has created an earthquake.

It was also Pinto who revealed information related to Man City’s financial fairness violations and caused the English team to be banned from playing for 2 years and had to pay a fine of 30 million euros from the Football Association. Europe (UEFA).

However, unfortunately, UEFA then received a “slap” too painful from Man City when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced the cancellation of the penalty. The fine of 30 million euros that UEFA announced to this club was also reduced to 10 million euros.

Although he was the one who revealed the shocking secrets of world football, in his hometown of Portugal, Pinto was considered a criminal.

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The financial breach documents collected by Pinto are said to be the main reason for the Premier League organizers to list the violations of Man City starting from the 2009/2010 season after a four-year investigation. Image: AP.

He was extradited from Hungary to Portugal in March 2019 after being accused of sending extortion emails to an investment organization with a total of 147 counts, which were later reduced to 90.

Man City escaped spectacularly in 2020, but the ghost of the past continues to follow the rich man of Manchester. According to TimesMan City has been accused of more than 100 violations of Premier League financial rules between 2009 and 2018.

If proven guilty, Man City can be deducted points, even expelled from the Premier League. Coincidentally, Times revealed “multiple allegations initiated from Football Leaks hard drive containing documents obtained by Portuguese hacker Rui Pinto and published in cooperation with Der Spiegel”.

This time, Man City will no longer be able to appeal to CAS to reverse the decision. After all, despite being caught in the net, the hero who exposed the dark side of rich giants like Man City could probably be glad that his work is still useful to this day.

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