Benfica case emails. Those responsible for the Porto canal are put on trial. “They put together a weekly telenovela”, says Carlos Alexandre – Observer

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Francisco J. Marques and Júlio Magalhães, then managers of Porto Canal, as well as commentator Diogo Faria will even be tried for having disclosed the content of several emails from Benfica in a television broadcast, judge Carlos Alexandre decided in a 242-page indictment. sign. this Monday and to which the Observer had access.

Carlos Alexandre thus endorsed the position of the deputies and the public prosecutor’s office (MP) for public and private accusations, thus bringing to justice the director of communication of FC Porto, Francisco J. Marques, and the former director of the Porto Canal, Júlio Magalhaes. for offenses of attack on correspondence or telecommunications, abusive access and infringement of a legal person, and Diogo Faria, commentator of the program ‘Universo Porto – da Bancada’, for an offense of attack on correspondence or telecommunications and another of abusive access. All of them disclosed, during several television broadcasts, information from e-mails that were allegedly pirate in Benfica.

The defendants broke into this illegally obtained information, filtered it, reported it, reorganized it and edited it into a weekly telenovela under the guise of a journalistic investigation, to destroy the credibility of Sport Lisboa e Benfica,” the indictment reads. of accusation.

Emails from Benfica. Francisco J. Marques accused of seven crimes, Júlio Magalhães responds to three

The investigation into the process, opened in April 2020, took place in Lisbon after a request made by Benfica’s own SAD. Carlos Alexandre is now referring the case to the Central Criminal Court in Lisbon, where news of the crime was originally reported.

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Francisco J. Marques was charged by the Public Ministry, on February 24, 2020, with three crimes of violation of correspondence or telecommunications, three crimes of violation of correspondence or aggravated telecommunications, in an apparent contest with three crimes of violation of privacy and a crime of improper access. He will also answer for five aggravated misdemeanors against the legal person and one aggravated misdemeanor against the legal person following a private accusation.

Diogo Faria will answer for an offense of attack on correspondence or telecommunications and an offense of abusive access. For private accusation, he will respond to a crime of offense to the aggravated collective person.

Júlio Magalhães, on the other hand, saw the public accusation of three crimes of aggravated violation of correspondence or telecommunications in an apparent contest with three crimes of debauchery of private life and the private accusation of five aggravated crimes of offense to a moral person.

The crimes allegedly took place during the several months in which they fed the television program, reporting the content of emails that allegedly reached Francisco J. Marques anonymously, first with a text warning and then by e -mail. It was a collection of 20 gigabytes of information that the news director ended up sending PJ three times later. Further information was then published on the Mercado de Benfica blog, created by Rui Pinto, the creator of Football Leaks, who is on trial for a total of 90 crimes: 68 of abusive access, 14 of correspondence violation, six of access, targeting entities such as Sporting, Dean, the PLMJ law firm, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), as well as the computer sabotage of Sporting’s SAD and the extortion, in the form of attempt. This last crime concerns Doyen and also led to the indictment of lawyer Aníbal Pinto.

Francisco Marques justified in court – at this stage where an investigating judge decides whether or not to take the case to court – that the information he disclosed came to him “unexpectedly” and that, for his interest biblical, he decided to make his disclosure in the program “Universo Porto – Da Bancada”. These allegedly relate to crimes committed by one of Portugal’s biggest football clubs and the case was of such public interest, as the news director claimed, that he himself ended up being interviewed about it by several national and international media, such as The New York Times and The New Yorker. He says he acted “in the exercise of the freedom of expression and information which assists him”.

“It is undeniable that the public exposure in the media of any form of corruption in football is a matter of general interest for the whole community, which extends beyond the population of supporters of football clubs , leading to stronger protection of freedom of expression. In addition, the expenditure of large sums by a football club in witchcraft practices is also a matter of public interest, since SL Benfica SAD is a listed company, which imposes an imperative need for submission to the examination public,” reads the defendant’s opening statement. request, which appears in the indictment to which the Observer had access.

On the other hand, Francisco Marques also justifies that he selected the information, having omitted the questions concerning the intimate, family and sexual life of the people mentioned therein, giving as an example the personal data of the referees, their wives and of their lovers.

The defendants also claimed that some of the assistants, as was the case with Benfica’s SAD, did not have the legitimacy to press charges against them, but each email holder had it.

For judge Carlos Alexandre, it was clear in the instruction that the defendants “preferred that the roles be reversed and that they be the assistants”, but he sums up the case in three points: the defendants obtained information that they believed, because they were told, had been obtained through crimes against the assistants; the defendants broke into this illegally obtained information, filtered it, reported it, reorganized it and mounted a weekly telenovela under the guise of a journalistic investigation, to destroy the credibility of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, according to the indictment. And, for the magistrate, they did it with only two reasons: for the rivalry between clubs and for the public.

Carlos Alexandre also considered the thesis presented by the defendants on the lack of legitimacy of the plaintiffs as inappropriate and “insufficient”, this because a legal person has a relevant interest in the protection of electronic mail and because the emails, although emanating from natural persons, are inserted in a professional field belonging to the assistants.

“We subscribe to the understanding that the computer attack directed against the computer system of Benfica SAD from which the information of the employees of this entity is disclosed, is interesting precisely because this information is vital or relevant for Benfica SAD itself! “. “The privacy of assistants in addition to the privacy of those involved in electronic correspondence” was violated, the judge said.

Another argument that Carlos Alexandre did not accept was that the interest of this information was linked to the fact that known people were involved. “What is at stake is the investigation of the knowledge and dissemination of communications between various natural persons, mostly unknown outside this restricted group of people who accompany the phenomenon of football” “with the aim of penetrate and infringe the rights of the assistants”, accused the magistrate, who also recalled that Francico J. Marques works for the communication of FC Porto and is not a journalist.

“Communications directors, like the defendant, defend a club and expose themselves for the same,” he wrote. “They owe obedience to the club, values ​​contrary to those of a journalistic role”, he recalls. In this case, the defendants “pursue the competitive interests of the FCP group, not letting themselves be guided by the criteria of objectivity and independence that characterize the journalistic function, but by its opposite”. And that is why, he concluded, the sorting of the material they made only concerned Benfica.

For the Observer, lawyers Rui Patrício, Zaragoça da Matta and João Medeiros have opted for a joint response. “It is a decision which we believe to be correct and which sees the reality beyond the attempted display by the defendants of an alleged public interest and a false good faith, and it is an important decision for many reasons, among which because it reinforces the idea that in the rivalry the Clubs cannot do everything, including defame and slander, but also select, mix, manipulate, decontextualize and truncate documents, which, by the way , had already been obtained and then criminally trafficked”.

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