Man goes on trial for bomb attack on Dortmund team bus

Dortmund, Germany: A German-Russian man went on trial on Thursday accused of carrying out a bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team’s bus in an elaborate bid to make a fortune on the stock market. The blasts eight months ago shattered the bus windows, leaving Spanish international Marc Bartra, 26, with a broken wrist. A police officer also suffered inner ear damage in the April 11 assault.
The suspect — named only as Sergei W, 28 — was arrested 10 days after he allegedly remotely set off the three explosive devices hidden in a hedge as the bus was leaving the team hotel for a Champions League match.
His alleged motive was greed. Prosecutors charge he had sought to profit from an anticipated plunge in the club’s stock market value after the attack, by cashing in on so-called put options.
Investigators had first feared a extremist link after letters suggesting an extremist motive were found at the scene. But questions quickly arose over their authenticity and an Iraqi man taken into custody was soon cleared of involvement.
Days later, police swooped on the suspect, an electrical technician, and charged him with 28 counts of attempted murder, triggering explosions and causing serious bodily harm.
He was staying in the same Dortmund hotel as the players, had a view of where the fragmentation bombs went off and had bought the put options on the team’s shares on the day of the attack, prosecutors said.
Dortmund, also known as BVB, is the only football club in Germany that is listed on the stock exchange.
For his money-making scheme, W had apparently taken out around 50,000 euros ($59,000) of credit to finance the purchase of options.
They could have been sold at a pre-determined price by June 17, more than two months after the attack, when a sharp fall in the share price would have promised a high profit.
Prosecutors said “a significant drop in the price could have been expected if, as a result of the attack, players had been seriously injured or even killed”.
The suspect could have pocketed up to 500,000 euros in profit if the plan came off, they believe. He however sold the options in the days after the attack, making just 5,900 euros.
The head of Germany’s federal criminal police, Holger Muench, said: “We have never experienced such an attack that turned out in the end to be such a perfidious form of stock market manipulation.”— AFP