New suspect in German soccer attack motivated by greed, not radical Islam

Stephanie Kirchner, The Washington Post Updated: April 21, 2017 at 7:51 am • Published: April 21, 2017 0

BERLIN - German police on Friday arrested a suspect in the attack on a popular soccer team and described the bombing as motivated by greed rather than linked to extremism.

A special police unit near the southern city of Tübingen arrested a Russian-German national identified as Sergei W. A statement from the federal public prosecutor said he carried out the attack on the Borussia Dortmund club in hopes of lowering its stock value.

The suspect is accused of planting three bombs last week packed with metal pins near the hotel where the team was staying and detonated them as the bus left for a match against AS Monaco.

Defender Marc Bartra was injured and had to undergo surgery. A police officer, escorting the bus on a motorcycle, suffered a blast trauma.

Frauke Köhler, spokeswoman of the federal public prosecutor, said the 28-year-old suspect faces charges including attempted murder and setting off an explosion.

She did not rule out possible accomplices, but there were currently no indications that others were involved.

According to the statement, Sergei W bought 15,000 so-called "put options" - shares which would have allowed him to make significant gains if the team's stock price had tumbled - the day of the attack.

The purchase was made online from the team's hotel. Days before the blast, the suspect moved into a room with a view of the area where he would later plant the bombs.

Investigators had previously focused on a radical Islamist motivation for the attack because of letters found at the scene claiming responsibility and referring to the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. But there always were doubts about the authenticity of the documents.

Other statements had surfaced, which suggested right-wing and left-wing extremist motives. According to authorities, however, there's currently no indication that these were authored by the perpetrator of the attack.

"The fact that here, if the accusation is true, somebody wanted to enrich himself by manipulating stock prices by killing people is a particularly despicable kind of greed," German interior minister Thomas de Maizière told reporters.

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