A 28-year-old German national being identified as “Sergei W” has been charged in connection with a bomb placed outside Borussia Dortmund’s hotel ahead of their Champions League game against AC Monaco. The blast, which was originally treated as a terrorist attack believed to be carried out by Islamic extremists, now appears to be an elaborate scheme by a stock trader in an attempt to make money by destroying the team’s stock price.
Sergei W was charged with attempted murder, setting off explosions, and causing serious physical injury. Police explained the case in a statement released Friday. Before purporting the attack Sergei purchased 15,000 put stock options valued at over $80,000. Police say it was his plan to attack the team, hoping to cause the stock price to tumble before finalizing the purchase, at which point he could sell the options at a higher pre-attack price.
Initially the stock did fall in value following the attack, but only 12 cents a share — before rebounding the following day. It fell further on Thursday after Borussia Dortmund was eliminated from the Champions League, meaning the attack did little to achieve its goal. Two people needed medical attention following the blast, including center-back Marc Bartra, who needed wrist surgery following the bombing.
Police believe Sergei W’s plan was to make the bombing look like the work of ISIS by planting letters at the scene and sending them to local media that claimed the bombs were the work of Islamic extremists, but the veracity of the letters came into doubt throughout the week. Sergei was arrested by GSG9, Germany’s federal counter-terrorism police in the southwest of the country on Friday morning.
The elaborate bombing-turned-stock-purchasing plan isn’t dissimilar to a series of planned attacks on Target stores by Florida man. Mark Barnett was arrested in February for placing 10 bombs in stores along the East Coast in hopes of crashing the company’s stock value and making money in the wake.
The result of the Borussia Dortmund bombing was the cancellation and rescheduling of the match between the team and AC Monaco, which led to the #BedForAwayFans campaign which united opposing supporters through social media as Dortmund fans opened up their homes to stranded visitors.