Court rules Dortmund suspect can be kept in detention | News | DW | 21.04.2017
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Borussia Dortmund bombing

Court rules Dortmund suspect can be kept in detention

A preliminary hearing has ruled that a 28-year-old German-Russian suspect in the Borussia Dortmund football bus bombing can be kept in detention awaiting trial. Police suspect he bet on a fall in the club's share price.

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Fans react to Dortmund bus attack arrest

A 28-year-old man suspected of carrying out a bombing attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team bus was formally arrested on Friday afternoon.

The suspect, identified only as Sergei W. in keeping with Germany's privacy law, was detained in Freudenstadt, a Black Forest town in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg (BW) earlier in the day.

Deutschland Anschlag auf BVB Bus Festnahme in Rottenburg (imago/7aktuell)

Police searched a property in Rottenberg

The investigating judge on the Supreme Court approved the arrest warrant application submitted by the Federal Prosecutor's Office. In a statement from prosecutors, they described the suspect as being "strongly suspected" of having carried out the April 11 attack.

After being held by special forces, Sergei W. was moved to pre-trial detention.

Although not officially confirmed, the newspaper "Bild" and the German news agency DPA, said police were looking for two accomplices linked to a rental vehicle.

However, Frauke Köhler, spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe, said investigators had no evidence pointing to accomplices. She added that the suspect would appear before an investigative judge on Friday afternoon.

Alleged motive 'greed,' not terror

Federal prosecutors had earlier said the suspect faced charges of attempted murder, causing an explosion, and serious bodily harm outside the luxury hotel used by the Borussia Dortmund soccer team, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from its home stadium.

Authorities said the 28-year-old had used a hotel room overlooking the bus' departure route to remotely detonate three devices placed in a hedge just after the players' bus pulled away from the hotel.

Several bus windows were shattered, injuring Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer on a motorbike.

Prosecutors said the suspect had bought so-called put options on the team's shares on the day of the attack, April 11, just prior to a Champions League match against AS Monaco that was postponed one day.

"A significant drop in price could have been expected if, as a result of the attack, players had been seriously injured or even killed," prosecutors said in a statement.

Infografik Karte Dortmund bus attack, 11.4.2017 ENG

The explosives tossed shrapnel 250 meters

Attack plot 'repugnant'

German interior ministers decried the alleged motivation for the attack.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maziere said the allegations, if confirmed, pointed to a "particularly repugnant motive."

Ralf Jäger, the North Rhine-Westphalia's state interior minister - just a month away from a regional state election - said the suspect "appears to have wanted to commit murder out of greed."

Baden-Württemberg's interior minister, Thomas Strobl, said the allegation, if confirmed, exhibited a "perfidious" form of criminal energy.

Experts had cast "considerable doubts" on messages containing purported claims of responsibility suggesting radical Islamist motives, they added.

Köhler on Friday added that forensic experts were still working to identify exactly which explosive was used on April 11. 

Tipoff from financial sector

Borussia Dortmund thanked police, who had reportedly had had the suspect under surveillance for days while following leads, including a tipoff from a financial sector source.

The fact that, aside from Bartra and the policeman, "no others were wounded or even killed, was - as we know today - solely due to huge luck," BVB said in its statement Friday.

The club's shares jumped 2 percent Friday on the news of the arrest.

rs, ipj/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)

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