German police have arrested a 28-year-old man suspected of carrying out last week’s attack on the team bus of football team Borussia Dortmund that injured two people.
Prosecutors said the suspect, known only as Sergej W., had been speculating in the football club’s shares. There was no extremist background to the crime, they said. The man faces charges of attempted murder, causing an explosion and grievous bodily harm.
Prosecutors said that on April 3 the suspect had taken out a five-figure loan, and on April 11 he had bought 15,000 put options on shares in Borussia Dortmund, apparently speculating that the club’s shares would fall in the aftermath of the blast.
Shares fell 3 per cent the day following the attack.
Ralf Jäger, the North Rhine-Westphalia interior minister, said the suspect had bet €79,000 in buying the options and could have made profits in the “millions” had the attack resulted in deaths and the team’s shares had plummeted.
The suspect used the IP address of L’Arrivée, the Dortmund hotel where the team was staying.
Minutes after the players left the hotel for a Champions League match with French side AS Monaco, the team bus was hit by three explosions.
Thomas de Maizière, federal minister of the interior, called the apparent motive “particularly repugnant”.
A Dortmund defender, Marc Bartra, suffered a fractured arm and shrapnel wounds, while a police motorcyclist who had been escorting the team bus to the stadium suffered a blast trauma.
The devices were packed with shards of metal, one of which embedded itself in the headrest of one of the seats in the bus.
The suspect, who German police said has dual German and Russian citizenship, had moved into the hotel where the team was staying on April 9, taking a room on the top floor with a view of the spot where the explosion occurred.
Police had initially believed that Islamists might have been behind the attack, particularly after the discovery of three letters claiming responsibility that used Islamist terminology and suggested a connection to the militant group Isis.
Investigators have since cast “considerable doubt” on the authenticity of the letters, which were examined by Islamic scholars.
The attack came amid growing fears of domestic terrorism in Germany, following an incident in December when a Tunisian asylum seeker drove a truck into a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. The attack was later claimed by Isis.
Terrorism and domestic security are likely to be big themes in the German federal elections in September.
Investigators had initially focused their attention on two known Islamists from north-west Germany, an Iraqi and a German citizen. The Iraqi, identified by German media only as Abdul Baset al-O, was believed to have commanded an Isis unit in Iraq that had carried out abductions, blackmail and executions. But it quickly became clear that the two men had nothing to do with the attack in Dortmund.
There were a total of three explosions in the incident. The first and third bombs went off as planned, but the second, which had been placed a meter above the ground, exploded over the bus, missing its target.
Spiegel online reported that one hurdle investigators are likely to face is that they so far have no evidence linking the suspect to the explosives used in the attack.
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