DORTMUND, Germany (Reuters) - A German court sentenced a German-Russian man to 14 years behind bars on Tuesday for a bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund (BVB) soccer team bus in 2017 as part of a money-making scheme.
The defendant, 29, identified by authorities only as Sergei W., had admitted to setting off the roadside bomb in April 2017, which injured one of the club’s players, but said he wanted to make money rather than harm or kill anyone.
He had been charged with attempted murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm and causing an explosion.
“The deed was planned meticulously over a long period of time,” Judge Peter Windgaetter told the court. The defendant, he added, had acted out of greed and reckoned with the possibility that people in the bus could be killed.
The team had been heading to the club stadium - Germany’s biggest with a capacity of 80,000 - for a Champions League match against AS Monaco when the bomb went off.
Spanish defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured and the match was delayed by a day.
The defendant, who looked unmoved as the judge sentenced him, has expressed deep regret for the attack, saying he had not meant to harm anyone and made clear the aim was to trigger a fall in BVB’s share price from which he could profit.
The judge said he had decided on the attack in October 2016 and tried to mislead investigators by writing fake letters from supposed Belgian Islamists claiming responsibility.
Prosecutors, who wanted him imprisoned for life, had argued that the defendant bought some 44,000 euros ($49,800) worth of options on the day of the attack which he could have sold at a profit if the share price had dropped.
In fact, BVB shares rose after the attack. Shares in the club also climbed 2.7 percent on Monday after the club’s latest victory in the Bundesliga took it to the top of the German table.
Both sides left open the option of an appeal.
Writing by Madeline Chambers, Editing by Mark Heinrich