Portuguese hacker to be extradited to the United States asks President for help

Written By Manuel Poças

The family of a Portuguese hacker, who is potentially facing years of incarceration in the United States, appealed to the Portuguese President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The 24-year-old Portuguese national and citizen had been the subject of investigation for years, and in 2021 the authorities of the United States already had a case against him. Diogo, the hacker, had been around the dark web since he was 14, and between 2015 and 2022 chose to set up and maintain one of the biggest platforms for buying and selling stolen company data.

Given the common practice of non-extradition between Portugal and the United States, especially if the crime was performed on national grounds, the US authorities were waiting for Diogo to leave the country.

Eventually, in 2022, Diogo was arrested in London. Shortly after, a court from Virginia sent a document requesting Diogo’s extradition, so that he could be accused and prosecuted for the crimes of conspiracy, device access fraud, and aggravated identity theft. All related to his role as creator of the dark web platform. Note that even though he was arrested, Diogo paid bail and is currently under house arrest in his apartment in London.

Even though Diogo’s crimes were committed on Portuguese soil, the effects of those crimes were felt across the ocean. Diogo’s crimes affected companies from the United States and, for that reason, the country is requesting its extradition. If extradited, Diogo is facing more than 50 years in prison.

Given the reality of the scenario, one of Diogo’s family members decided to appeal to the Portuguese President of the Republic, in the form of an email, requesting his assistance.

Upon receiving the email, the President delegated the matter to the Portuguese Government.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Justice say their hands are tied. In fact, the Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that the Ministry has no knowledge of any extradition process related to Diogo.

The Minister of Justice, on the other hand, stated that the Ministry could not legally intervene. The truth is that matters like this are under the umbrella of the Ministry of Justice. Moreover, the President says he cannot get involved because it is a judiciary matter.

In parallel with the accusations in the United States, Diogo is also being charged with money laundering in Portugal. That is what the defense attorneys hope will help with the appeal process. Note that Diogo is already appealing a decision that agrees with his extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States.

Moreover, Diogo’s attorneys made clear that the Portuguese justice already helped one of its nationals in a similar situation (the famous hacker, Rui Pinto), and the difference in treatment between both is absurd. Contrary to Rui, Diogo does not seem to be getting any help.

Diogo stated that he does not want to avoid justice and is prepared to pay for his mistakes. However, he wants to do it in Portugal. 

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