Hacker threatens to release incriminating Manchester City documents

Hacker threatens to release incriminating Manchester City documents
Hacker threatens to release incriminating Manchester City documents

The hacker behind the Football Leaks scandal claims to have more yet-to-be-released evidence showing financial rules breaches by Manchester City.

Speaking at a conference in Marbella, Rui Pinto and his lawyer said he has already handed over five hard drives to French and German authorities.

They include “more on City”, said Pinto, who claims they are relevant to the Premier League’s 115-charge case due to be heard this autumn.

“I am confident they will find criminal relevancy,” said Pinto, speaking remotely in a session titled “Financial Scandals that Rocked European Soccer” at the OffshoreAlert Marbella conference.

Pinto had been appearing at the conference with his French lawyer William Bourdon. The Sun newspaper subsequently reported, however, that legal representatives indicated the new Pinto evidence relating to City had yet to be released.

“We have been approached by investigators to share information regarding Manchester City that has not been released before,” Pinto’s legal representative said.

“We haven’t released the information yet but we have a massive file of Manchester City-related documents that has yet to be released. The files will be published at some point, we cannot say when but we will do it.”

Pinto allegedly amassed 70 million documents, including personal emails, from the likes of Manchester City and PSG. In November 2018, German publication Der Spiegel claimed City and their sponsors manipulated contracts to circumvent Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and said its source was a whistleblower they called “John”, which was the pseudonym Pinto created Football Leaks under.

Last year, a Portuguese court gave Pinto a four-year suspended sentence after finding him guilty on counts of attempted extortion, illegal access to data and breach of correspondence. The 35-year-old, who leaked millions of documents, argued he was a whistleblower and not a hacker. City deny all charges and any wrongdoing but Pinto, who is believed to be in witness protection, told the conference via video link: “The Man City releases showed amounts of money being paid into by the club that were not mentioned to the football authorities. These documents form part of the Premier League investigation into City.

“I have now handed five hard drives to French and German authorities with millions of documents, including more on City, and I have described what is on each. I am confident they will find criminal relevancy.”

According to The Sun, Pinto added that he had received anonymous threats in recent years. “I know that a group of European football clubs were investigating me,” he said. “They met in London and were very worried about new leaks. They were looking to gather information about my life.”

The Premier League charges against City, who deny wrongdoing, include 54 failures to provide accurate financial information from 2009-10 to 2017-18, 14 failures to provide accurate details for player and manager payments from 2009-10 to 2017-18, five failures to comply with Uefa’s rules including FFP from 2013-14 to 2017-18, seven breaches of the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules from 2015-16 to 2017-18, and 35 failures to co-operate with Premier League investigations between December 2018 and February 2023.

Potential expulsion from the league is among available punishments should the club be found guilty. The case cannot go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), but either side could appeal, prompting speculation the saga could take years to be resolved.

In a 2020 judgement, Uefa banned City from the Champions League for two seasons and fined them €30 million. However, the punishment was overturned by Cas.