Berliner on Trial for Threat to Blow up British Hospital

Berliner on Trial for Threat to Blow up British Hospital
An elderly gentleman walks past a hospital sign in London on Sept 26, 2007. (Cate Gillon/Getty Images)
The Associated Press

BERLIN—A 33-year-old Italian man was going on trial Friday in Berlin on allegations that he threatened to blow up a British National Health Service hospital unless he was paid off with 10 million pounds ($13.2 million) in crypto currency.

The Berlin resident, identified only as Emil A. in line with German privacy laws, is accused of attempted extortion on allegations he sent an email in April 2020 from his home to the NHS, threatening the attack on an unspecified hospital unless the he received the funds in his Bitcoin account.

The NHS did not respond, and the suspect proceeded to send another 17 threatening emails until his arrest in June, according to prosecutors.

Investigators were able to track the suspect through his electronic trail, which he had attempted to conceal through basic encryption that was easily cracked, said court spokeswoman Lisa Jani.

“It was not highly professional,” she said.

Investigators determined the suspect had no bomb and no specific target, and the case was assigned to a Berlin district court rather than a higher court due to the nature of the allegations, Jani said.

The charges were to be read to the court on Friday. The defendant will have an opportunity to respond but no pleas are entered in the German system. The trial resumes Dec. 16 with testimony from German investigators.

British authorities will participate as witnesses during the trial via video link.