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“Follow the Money” Was Never This Easy

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting story about a suspect’s motive behind the recent bombing of Borussia Dortmund, a popular German soccer team.

At first, authorities investigated whether or not Islamist terrorists were behind the attack. That was in part because the suspect apparently left notes to throw investigators off his trail.  German police investigated an Iraqi man who was initially a suspect. Prosecutors quickly concluded that the 26-year-old man didn’t take part in the bombing but arrested him for being a member of Islamic State.

So how did the authorities find the suspect?

Prosecutors said suspicious financial transactions led investigators to Sergej M. 15,000 “put options” had been purchased the day of the attack from an internet address in the same Dortmund hotel where both Sergej M. and the Borussia Dortmund soccer team were staying.

The suspect invested €79,000 ($85,000) in the stock options, which could have brought him a profit of more than €1 million if the team’s share price had plummeted. As prosecutor noted that, “a significant fall in the stock price would have been expected if players were seriously injured or even killed in the attack.”

Fortunately that did not happen. It appears as if the most serious injury a player received from the bombing was a broken wrist. The stock price did initially drop slightly after the attack, but actually ended the day up 1.7%.

The story reminded me of the classic line from All the President’s Men, “Just follow the money.”

Only in this case it seems as if investigators didn’t have to do nearly as much work as Woodward and Bernstein to discover who was behind the crime.

I am not sure if anyone knows if there was any other motive at work here besides pure greed. It’s a sad state of affairs when someone is willing to kill multiple people just for money.,

From the break-in at Watergate to the bombing in Dortmund, one would certainly be hard pressed to argue that money is not the root of all evil.

*photo is from happier times for Borussia Dortmund, celebrating with their fans

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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