German-Russian man admits to Dortmund team bus bombing

2018-01-08 19:12
The German-Russian suspect, known as Sergei W., who is accused of having carried out a bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team's bus, arrives for his trial on January 8, at the district courthouse in Dortmund, western Germany. (Bernd Thissen, AFP, Pool)

The German-Russian suspect, known as Sergei W., who is accused of having carried out a bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team's bus, arrives for his trial on January 8, at the district courthouse in Dortmund, western Germany. (Bernd Thissen, AFP, Pool)

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Dortmund - A German-Russian man admitted on Monday to carrying out a bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team's bus in an elaborate bid to make a fortune on the stock market.

"I deeply regret my actions," said the man, identified only as Sergei W. in keeping with German convention in court cases to protect the identity of defendants.

In a statement handed to the court in the western German city, he insisted he did not aim to kill or hurt anyone.

The triple blast on April 11, 2017, shattered the team bus's windows and left Spanish international Marc Bartra, 26, with a broken wrist, while a police officer suffered inner ear damage.

Prosecutors say the three fragmentation bombs each contained up to 1kg of a hydrogen peroxide mixture and around 65 cigarette-sized metal bolts, one of which ended up lodged in Bartra's headrest.

After initial fears of a jihadist attack were dismissed, W. was arrested 10 days later.

Police charged the 28-year-old electrical technician with 28 counts of attempted murder as well as setting off explosions and causing serious bodily harm.

He had allegedly remotely set off the three explosive devices hidden in a hedge as the bus was leaving the team hotel for a Champions League match.

'Life in prison'

Prosecutors charge that W. had sought to profit from an anticipated plunge in the club's stock market value by cashing in on so-called put options, essentially bets on a falling share price.

He was staying in the same Dortmund hotel as the players, had a view of where the bombs went off and had bought the put options on the team's shares on the day of the attack, prosecutors said.

W. reportedly drew attention at the hotel, first by insisting on a window room facing the front and then, in the chaos after the blasts, by calmly walking into its restaurant to order a steak.

Dortmund, also known as BVB, is the only football club in Germany that is listed on the stock exchange.

If its share price had indeed plunged, W. could have made as much as $600 000 in profit, say prosecutors.

Instead, W. allegedly sold the options days after the attack, making just over $7 000.

A day after the attack, Dortmund played their postponed game against Monaco and lost, prompting then coach Thomas Tuchel to rail against UEFA for not giving the players time to come to terms with their fear before returning to the pitch.

W. faces life in prison if found guilty, although in Germany parole is usually granted after 15 years.

The trial is expected to run for 16 more days of hearings.

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