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Russian-German Is Arrested Over Attack on Borussia Dortmund Bus

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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 who is suspected of trying to blow up the Borussia Dortmund team bus, with the apparent goal of driving down the price of the club’s stock price 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.

His arrest represented the clearest explanation to date for the motive for the attack, which was initially thought to be the work of Islamist extremists after three letters found at the site claimed responsibility.

One player was wounded in the April 11 bombing as the team was heading to its stadium for a Champions League match against AS Monaco, forcing officials to reschedule the game for the following night. Monaco won that night, 3-2, and went on to oust the German team from the competition in a second leg, winning at home 3-1.

The attack caused widespread fear about security for both players and spectators of the country’s most popular sport, which draws tens of thousands of fans into stadiums across the country and around the world every weekend.

Terrorism experts immediately questioned the authenticity of the letters, which were found on the night of the attack in the hedges by the roadside where the bombs had been planted, federal prosecutors said in a statement on Friday.

Prosecutors said that an additional letter was later sent to German news organizations, claiming that the attack was carried out by the far right, proved to be unfounded.

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 for shares in the team, which is publicly traded, that would have entitled him to sell them at a predetermined price.

The financial maneuver could have resulted in a substantial profit for the suspect if the value of the shares had fallen 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.

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