"He has changed radically and we cannot hide that, however much one or the other may not like it, and he has had an effective, relevant and important collaboration. He has had a genuine knowledge that he has and that he seeks to transmit, even from a preventive point of view," said the head of the Judiciary, who is being heard as a witness for the defence of the creator of 'Football Leaks' at Lisbon's Central Criminal Court.

In his statement at the 41st session of the trial, Neves stressed that the change - "from day to night" - in the defendant's attitude occurred after the pre-trial phase of the case, and that until then there had been "extreme positions" regarding the attitude of the authorities because of alleged "complacency".

At the same time, the national director of the PJ stated that "the police never made any commitment" in the context of this collaboration with Rui Pinto, but only with the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP), an organism with which all the results of this work were shared. However, he did not fail to praise Rui Pinto's abilities and concerns, also highlighting the economic "difficulties" in his life.

"Besides his education, he has a great memory, is a very capable person and manages to establish great connections", he stressed, adding: "From the conversations we had with him, we could see that he was a person with knowledge and concern, especially in terms of social welfare. He was concerned about issues of social inequality and, above all, money laundering and tax fraud."

Asked by Rui Pinto's lawyer, Francisco Teixeira da Mota, about the defendant's possibilities for social reintegration, Luís Neves drew on his professional experience of almost 30 years to defend the viability of such prospects and considered that with the skills that the creator of 'Football Leaks' possesses, "he can work and be well paid in an absolutely legal way" in public or private institutions to prevent cyber attacks.

"If, on the second or third opportunities, I had felt that this path of re-socialisation was not effective, I would not have been there more often. The police should also contribute to reintegration and I understand that he can be a citizen who does not repeat the practice of the facts of which he is suspected here," he said.

Rui Pinto, 32, has been charged with a total of 90 offences: 68 for unauthorised access, 14 for violation of correspondence, six for illegitimate access, targeting entities such as Sporting, Doyen, the law firm PLMJ, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and the Attorney General's Office (PGR), as well as computer sabotage of the Sporting SAD and extortion, in attempted form. The latter crime concerns Doyen and was what also led to the indictment of the lawyer Aníbal Pinto.

The creator of Football Leaks has been free since 7 August, "due to his cooperation" with the Judicial Police (PJ) and his "critical sense", but is, for security reasons, inserted in the witness protection programme in an undisclosed location and under police protection.