German soccer bomb suspect wanted to drive down share price: prosecutor

Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:23pm EDT
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By Maria Sheahan

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German police arrested a man on Friday suspected of detonating three bombs that targeted the Borussia Dortmund soccer team bus in the hope of forcing down the club's share price and making a profit on an investment, prosecutors said.

The team was heading to the club's stadium for a Champions League match against AS Monaco on April 11 when the explosions went off, wounding Spanish defender Marc Bartra and delaying the match by a day.

In a statement, the federal chief prosecutor said the 28-year old suspect, a dual German and Russian national identified as Sergei V., had bought options on the day of the attack entitling him to sell shares in Borussia Dortmund at a pre-determined price.

"If the shares of Borussia Dortmund had fallen massively, the profit would have been several times the initial investment," the prosecutor's office said, adding that such a slump could have resulted if any players had been killed or seriously injured.

Holger Muench, head of Germany's Federal Crime Office (BKA), told broadcaster ZDF: "We've never seen a crime that we're investigating turn out to be such an insidious form of manipulation of share prices."

In fact, the shares rose 1.8 percent on April 12, the day after the attack, and are up about 2 percent so far this year.

Three letters had been left at the site of the attack to steer investigators toward inferring an Islamist motive, but prosecutors last week expressed doubts about their authenticity.


Media gather near a house were the German police arrested a man who is suspected of planting explosives targeting the bus of soccer team Borussia Dortmund is pictured in the town Rottenburg, Germany April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder