Man bombed soccer team bus, with Hershey teen aboard, to make money off its losses: prosecutors
BERLIN (AP) — A 28-year-old German-Russian citizen took out a five-figure loan to bet that Borussia Dortmund shares would drop, then attacked the soccer team’s bus with a bomb in a scheme to net millions, German officials said Friday.
The suspect, identified only as Sergej W. in line with German privacy laws, was arrested by a police tactical response team early Friday near the southwestern city of Tuebingen, federal prosecutors said.
Hershey’s Christian Pulisic plays for the Borussia Dortmund team.
“We are working on the assumption that the suspect is responsible for the attack against the team bus of Borussia Dortmund,” prosecutors’ spokeswoman Frauke Koehler told a news conference Friday.
She said the man came to the attention of investigators because he had made “suspicious options purchases” for shares in Borussia Dortmund, the only top-league German club listed on the stock exchange, on the same day as the April 11 attack.
W. had taken out a loan of “several tens of thousands of euros” days before the attack and bought a large number of so-called put options, betting on a drop in Dortmund’s share price, she said.
“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,” according to prosecutors, though Koehler said the precise profit W. might have expected was still being calculated.
Ralf Jaeger, the top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, said the suspect had hoped to earn millions.
“The man appears to have wanted to commit murder out of greed,” said Jaeger.
The suspect faces charges of attempted murder, causing an explosion and serious bodily harm, and will appear before a judge later Friday to determine if there is enough evidence against him to keep him in custody, Koehler said.
She said investigators believe W. acted alone — there are “no indications of possible helpers” — but would continue to probe the possibility he had accomplices.
Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured in the triple blasts as the bus was heading to the team’s stadium for a Champions League game. Bartra had to have surgery on his wrist and arm and is out of action for several weeks.
Investigators found notes at the scene claiming responsibility on behalf of Islamic extremists, but quickly doubted their authenticity.