Germany: Terror attack staged to conceal stock fraud

AP PHOTO In this April 11 file photo, police officers stand in front of Dortmund's damaged team bus after explosions injured two people before a soccer match in Dortmund, Germany.

BERLIN — A 28-year-old German-Russian citizen took out a five-figure loan to bet that Borussia Dortmund shares would drop, then bombed the soccer team’s bus in an attack he tried to disguise as Islamic terrorism 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 team early Friday near the city of Tuebingen, federal prosecutors said.

“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,” Jaeger said.

Investigators found notes at the scene claiming responsibility on behalf of Islamic extremists, which Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, said was a “particularly perfidious way to toy with people’s fears.”