April 21 (UPI) — German police arrested a suspect in an attack on a soccer team’s bus, with prosecutors saying Friday the man was attempting to depress the team’s stock price.
Three explosions on April 11 struck the team bus of Borussia Dortmund, a prominent and publicly traded German professional soccer team, as it carried players from a Tuebingen, Germany, hotel to its stadium in Dortmund for a scheduled match. One player aboard the bus, Marc Bartra, 26, was injured by flying glass and required surgery on a broken arm, and the match against A.S. Monaco was postponed.
Federal prosecutors said Friday that a Russian-German suspect, identified as Sergei W., was arrested by a counterterrorism unit and charged with attempted murder, inflicting serious bodily harm and creating an explosion.
They said his motive was an attempt to drive down the team’s stock price; while staying at the same hotel as the team, he purchased 15,000 put options on the Internet, which would allow him to later sell the shares at a predetermined price. A substantial profit would be made if Borussia Dortmund’s stock price fell.
“A significant share price drop could have been expected if a player had been seriously injured or even killed as a result of the attack,” prosecutors said.
After the incident, there was speculation the attack on the bus was the work of Islamic terrorists, or of German political groups from the left and from the right. Letters suggesting Islamic extremist were found near the bomb site, although their authenticity was immediately doubted. The type of explosives used was indicative of “terrorist involvement,” Frauke Koehler of the prosecutor’s office said. The attack added anxiety to fears that Germany, in an election year, is vulnerable to terrorism, The New York Times said.
The soccer match was delayed by one day; A.S. Monaco defeated Borussia Dortmund, 3-2.