Prosecutor: Man killed by Berlin bomb may have been gang target

A convicted drug dealer who was killed in a car bombing in central Berlin may have been the target of a revenge act by a crime gang, a German prosecutor said Wednesday.

Police have started questioning witnesses associated with the man, who was driving in Berlin's western Charlottenburg district early Tuesday when a bomb exploded, causing the car to overturn and ram into a parked vehicle.

A leading member of a German police union said Wednesday that the group behind the attack could be the Russian mafia - which runs its Eastern European business out of Berlin - or one of the city's notorious biker gangs.

Norbert Cioma of the police union GdP told Berlin public radio RBB that the crime may also be a result of rivalry between these groups - whose businesses intersect in Berlin - and that it was intended to "send a signal."

Investigators say the 43-year-old man killed in the bombing was known to them for suspected involvement in forgery and illegal gambling. He has also been convicted of drug offences in Poland.

Berlin prosecutor Martin Steltner said that there was still a possibility the man was not the intended target of the bomb attack, considering he was not the owner of the car.

A search of his apartment Wednesday did not result in findings "that would substantially move the investigation forward," Steltner said.

Speaking to public broadcaster ZDF, Andre Schulz - the head of the Federation of German Detectives - said that the man was killed by a crime gang for having collaborated with police.

He added that German authorities have failed to crack down on organized crime networks because of a chronic shortage of funds and personnel.

Last update: Wed, 16/03/2016 - 13:04

More from Europe

EU parliament rejects money laundering blacklist for being too short

European Union lawmakers Thursday rejected a blacklist compiled by the European Commission of countries deemed to be...

ECB leaves rates on hold as its ponders global uncertainties

The European Central Bank left its monetary policy on hold Thursday as it faces up to a slew of global economic and...

Britain's May woos investors, soothes voters in Davos

Britain will emerge as the global champion of free trade after leaving the European Union, British Premier Theresa...

Germany and Austria push for extension of border controls

Germany and Austria want to extend controls at their border amid ongoing security threats, the countries' interior...

Russia rejects European court ruling to pay former Yukos shareholders

Russia's Constitutional Court has rejected a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights to pay almost 2 billion...