Borussia Dortmund bomb suspect to stand trial for attempted murder

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A German-Russian man suspected of detonating three bombs targeting the Borussia Dortmund soccer team bus in April is due to appear in a German court on Thursday, charged with 28 counts of attempted murder.

The team was heading to the club’s stadium for a Champions League match against AS Monaco on April 11 when the explosions went off, wounding Spanish defender Marc Bartra and delaying the match by a day.

Letters left at the scene had initially suggested Islamist militants were behind the bomb attack, but prosecutors later said the 28-year old suspect, a dual German and Russian national identified as Sergei V., was motivated by greed.

The attack near the Signal Iduna Park stadium, the largest in Germany, holding more than 80,000 fans, had nonetheless revived memories at the time of the November 2015 attacks in Paris that targeted entertainment venues including the Stade de France where France were playing Germany in a soccer friendly.

The start of the trial also comes only days after the anniversary of a deadly truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market, which killed 12 people and put the issue of security at the heart of political debate in Germany.

Prosecutors have alleged that the suspect in the Borussia bus bombing had hoped the attack would force down the club’s share price, reaping him a profit on an investment.

He had bought options on the day of the attack entitling him to sell shares in Borussia Dortmund at a pre-determined price. But shares in BVB actually rose after the attack and are up 18 percent so far this year.

In addition to the attempted murder charges, the Dortmund prosecutor’s office also accuses the suspect of inflicting grievous bodily harm and of causing an explosion.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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