Bombing of Borussia Dortmund Bus Targeted Club’s Stock, Prosecutors Say

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The team bus of the Borussia Dortmund soccer club was damaged in an explosion in Dortmund, Germany, on April 11.

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Maja Hitij/Getty Images

BERLIN — Germany’s elite antiterrorism unit has arrested a 28-year-old German-Russian man who is suspected of trying to blow up the Borussia Dortmund team bus, with the apparent aim of driving down the price of the club’s stock so he could profit through a speculation scheme, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The suspect, identified only as Sergei W. in keeping with German privacy laws, was charged with attempted murder, inflicting serious bodily harm and carrying out an explosion in the attack, whichwounded one player and one police officer.

His arrest represented the clearest explanation to date of the motive for an attack that has been attributed at various times to Islamist extremists and right-wing and left-wing political groups, and has added to election-year fears that Germany is vulnerable to terrorism.

According to prosecutors, the suspect had checked into the hotel where the team was staying. On the day of the attack, he purchased 15,000 put options over the internet for shares in Borussia Dortmund, which is publicly traded. These would have entitled him to sell shares later at a predetermined price.

The financial maneuver could have resulted in a substantial profit for the suspect if the shares had undergone a “massive fall” value in the interim, prosecutors 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,” they said.

Marc Bartra, a defender, suffered injuries from broken glass caused by one of the three blasts on April 11 as the team, one of Germany’s most successful, was heading to its stadium for a Champions League match against A.S. Monaco. Mr. Bartra, a 26-year-old Spaniard, suffered injuries to his right arm and wrist that required surgery, the team said.

After the announcement from prosecutors, Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, thanked the authorities and investigators for their efforts leading to the arrest, as well as fans and supporters who had sent messages of encouragement to the team.

Marcel Schmelzer, the club’s captain, said in a statement that it was important for the players to know the motivation behind the attack, which had left them rattled before a crucial match. “For everyone who was sitting on the bus, this would be important information that would make the ability to process this much easier,” he said.

The bus was heavily damaged in the attack in Dortmund, about 60 miles east of the Netherlands border, and a piece of shrapnel was found embedded in the headrest of a seat, suggesting the toll could have been much greater.

The match was rescheduled for the following night. Monaco won it, 3-2,…

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