Judicial system in ‘tight spot’ over Luanda Leaks whistleblower
The realisation that a young Portuguese hacker currently in custody accused of over 90 crimes of illegally gaining access to confidential documents is also behind the Luanda Leaks is proving a headache for Portugal’s judicial system.
The news emerged this week from the lawyers representing whistleblower Rui Pinto that their client handed over documents implicating Angolan tycoon Isabel dos Santos in the alleged theft of millions of dollars from Angola’s state-run oil company Sonangol, to the Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Rui Pinto’s defence has always been that corruption, whether in the world of football or finance, needs to be exposed.
“The fact that it was he who was behind the Luanda Leaks puts the Portuguese legal authorities in a tight corner for on the one hand how can they say he is a criminal (for exposing corruption in the world of football, much which has been used in successful prosecutions, when Angola has welcomed his information and initiated a major criminal investigation” reports the Algarve Resident newspaper.
Rui Pinto has many influential voices behind him, including TV commentator Miguel Sousa Tavares who suggested this week that he should be immediately released from custody, hailed as a hero and be decorated by the Portuguese State.
Another supporter is the former socialist MEP and anti-corruption stalwart Ana Gomes who warns that the young computer genius has a lot more information to release.
In the fallout from Luanda Leaks a number of business leaders have either resigned or been dismissed from the boards and payrolls of leading Portuguese business institutions.
Three Portuguese citizens in positions of responsibility have been made “legal suspects” or “arguidos”: Mário Leite da Silva, described as Isabel dos Santos principle business manager, Paula Oliveira (a friend and business partner of Ms dos Santos) and Sarju Raikundalia (formerly financial director at Sonangol under Ms dos Santos’ mandate).
Mário Leite da Silva and Paula Oliveira have since resigned their positions in companies and entities connected to Ms. Dos Santos, as have other Portuguese nationals not yet given “arguido” status.
Jorge Brito Pereira – described as one of Ms dos Santos’ lawyers of long-standing, has opted to retire from practising law and has cut his professional ties with Isabel dos Santos and the universe of businesses connected to her.
“He leaves his position at the Uría Menendez-Proença de Carvalho law firm without any admission of guilt”, adds the newspaper Expresso.