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Dortmund football team attacker hoped to profit from share slump

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 15:54

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Police arrested a man on suspicion he attacked the bus of German soccer team Borussia Dortmund GmbH last week, hoping to profit from a slump in the publicly traded club's share price.

[FRANKFURT] Police arrested a man on suspicion he attacked the bus of German soccer team Borussia Dortmund GmbH last week, hoping to profit from a slump in the publicly traded club's share price.

The 28-year-old man, who has both German and Russian citizenship, was apprehended in the southern city of Tuebingen on Friday, the Federal Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. On the day of the April 11 attack in the team's home city of Dortmund, he bought 15,000 put options on Borussia Dortmund shares betting they would drop sharply after the attack.

A player was injured following three bomb explosions near the team's bus as it headed to a Champions League match against AS Monaco. Spaniard Marc Bartra, who plays for Borussia Dortmund, was hospitalised as a result of injuries sustained in the blasts. The suspect, identified only as Sergej W, is being investigated for attempted murder, causing an explosion and grave assault.

The man had booked a room in the same hotel as the soccer team overlooking the site of the attack. He bought put options online via the IP address of the hotel, the prosecutor's office said. Put options grant its owner the right to sell shares at a fixed price in the future. The man had taken a consumer loan to finance the transaction, according to the statement.

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"In case of a massive slump in Borussia Dortmund's stock, the profit would have been a multiple of the invested money," the prosecutor's office said.

"A massive share drop would have had to be expected, had a player been gravely injured or even killed as the result of the attack."

On the day of the attack, 15,000 equity-covered put options were traded at 18 euro cents a piece at 11.16am in Frankfurt, about 8 hours before the bombs went off.

The options, issued by DZ Bank AG and due to expire on June 16, give the right to sell Borussia Dortmund shares at 5.20 euros. The shares closed at 5.61 euros that afternoon, shortly before the attack took place, and fell as low as 5.50 euros the next day. The stock hasn't traded below 5.20 euros since February.

Borussia Dortmund couldn't immediately be reached for comment when contacted by phone and email.

According to prosecutors, the man placed three bombs in a hedge on the road that the team bus was due to take to the stadium. The explosives contained metal pins, which after the explosion were found as far as 250 metres away. One pin was found in a head-rest of one the bus seats, the authorities said.

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