The suspected BVB bus bomber faces 28 counts of attempted murder after allegedly detonating bombs targeting the team. Prosecutors have accused the German-Russian man of using the attack to make money on the stock market.
The trial of a 28-year-old German-Russian man suspected of detonating three roadside bombs targeting one of Germany's top teams, Borussia Dortmund (BVB), began on Thursday.
Sergei V. faces 28 counts of attempted murder and causing an explosion, according to the Dortmund prosecutor's office. Each of the bombs created by the trained electrician contained up to one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of hydrogen peroxide fuel mixture and metal studs.
BVB player Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured in the attack. In court on Thursday, Bartra's lawyer requested damages of at least €15,000 ($17,800).
The defendant himself did not respond to the charges levied against him in court. His defense lawyer Carl W. Heydenreich argued that his client did not intend to kill the players on the bus.
"It's more likely that the bus was not supposed to be hit at all," Heydenreich said, noting that only two metal studs out of hundreds struck the vehicle. "And a bus isn't a compact car."
The charges brought by prosecutors paint a different picture of events, saying that "the defendant acted in order to get rich."
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, police discovered a note linking it to Islamists, while other theories implicating right- and left-wing movements were also floated by authorities.
However, these motives were later ruled out after investigators discovered evidence linking the attack to a money-making scheme. The suspect has denied the allegations made against him.
'Stock market manipulation'
In the run-up to the attack, Sergei W. took out a loan amounting to tens of thousands of euros in order to purchase options on the BVB's shares, prosecutors said.
Derivatives or options are effectively bets on a change in a share's price over a time period. Returns can increase dramatically based on how sudden, unexpected, or unlikely the change in price is deemed to be.
The suspect could have made up to €500,000 ($594,000) if BVB shares would have dropped by one euro ($1.19), according to prosecutors. BVB is the only Bundesliga football team listed on the German stock exchange.
"If several or even all of the BVB players had been seriously injured or even killed, meaning that the club could not in the foreseeable
time have participated in national and international matches, then it would have had a significant impact on the value of BVB on the stock market," the indictment said.
"We have never experienced such an attack that turned out in the end to be such a perfidious form of stock market manipulation," said Holger Münch, who heads Germany's criminal police unit.
The trial is expected to run through at least March.
rs, ls/jil (dpa, AFP, Reuters)