In April of last year, three bombs detonated as a bus carrying the Borussia Dortmund soccer team left a hotel in Germany. As it turns out, only one player suffered minor injuries, but the high-profile attack led authorities to assume that Islamist terrorists were to blame. They could not have been more wrong: A story in Bloomberg Businessweek explains how an unassuming electrician named Sergej Wenergold set off the bombs in order to make a quick buck. His idea was to short the team's stock, then cause a catastrophic incident—an apparent terror attack would do the trick—that would put the stock into freefall. If it worked, he could have made up to $607,933.50 based on the stock's worth before the bombings. But the fizzled attack did little to affect the stock, and Wenergold ended up selling most of his options the following day for a loss.
Authorities zeroed in on Wenergold after getting wind of suspicious stock-option purchases immediately before the attack, and they traced them back to the 28-year-old. His trial is currently underway, with the key question being whether he intended to scare players, as his defense teams asserts, or kill them, as prosecutors allege. The story traces Wenergold's personal history, recounting how he grew up as part of an ethnic German community in Russia, then eventually moved to Germany with his family. And it recounts a leading theory regarding his motivation for fast cash: His girlfriend had recently dumped him, and Wenergold apparently wanted to get enough money together to woo her back with the idea of a sound financial future. Read the full story, which details Wenergold's calm research into the scheme and his equally calm demeanor in court. (Read more Longform stories.)