Police have arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of orchestrating last week’s attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus so he could profit from a collapse in the club’s share price.
Contrary to earlier speculation that the bombing was carried out in the name of Islamic extremism, it is alleged that Sergej W, a market trader and German-Russian national, was motivated by money.
In a statement released on Friday, it was confirmed by the German federal prosecutor's office that the suspect has been charged with attempted murder.
According to reports in the national media, he bought options to short-sell 15,000 shares worth €78,000 (£65,000). The value of this so-called put option, which entitled him to sell shares on or before a certain date for a pre-agreed price, would have increased significantly had one of the players been seriously injured or died as a result of the attack. A significant drop in Dortmund’s shares could have landed Sergej W up to €3.9m.
The team bus was attacked en-route to the Westfalenstadion, where Dortmund were scheduled to play Monaco in their Champions League quarter-final first leg. The three blasts injured a policeman and Spanish defender Marc Bartra, and the decision was taken to postpone the match.
The suspect had booked into the L'Arrivée hotel in Dortmund, which is also used by the club before matches, and prosecutors say he’d moved to a room overlooking the street where the bombing took place.
Investigators believe he covertly planted three bombs packed with metal pins along the route the bus was expected to take. “The explosive devices were detonated at the optimum time,” prosecutors added.
Police were initially led to believe the attacks were linked to terrorism, after a number of letters found near the scene of the crime made reference to the Islamist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin last December. But after consulting with experts they began to question the authenticity of the notes.
Borussia Dortmund lost the first leg, which was eventually played the day after, eventually bowing out of the Champions League with a 6-3 aggregate defeat on Wednesday night.
(Main image: Rex)