- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Missing transmigrant who won lottery turns up
The transmigrant who won €250,000 in a Belgian lottery draw a week and a half ago has resurfaced after going missing.
The young African migrant bought the winning €5 scratch car at the Spar supermarket in Zeebrugge. But collecting the prize money has proved to be a challenge, De Standaard reports.
As the prize was for a sum of €250,000, rules dictate that he had to register with the National Lottery, which would pay out the winnings. But the man disappeared.
Without official residence in Belgium and having not applied for asylum, the hapless winner was difficult to track down. He was living with a community of other transmigrants in Zeebrugge who were all trying to get to the UK.
The only way the National Lottery could identify the winner was by examining security camera images from the shop where he bought the winning ticket plus a photo of him taken by local priest Fernand Maréchal.
On Friday, three men presented themselves to the National Lottery with the winning lottery ticket, but none of them matched the images of the winner. The three were arrested, although eventually released. The lottery ticket has since been kept in a safe by the Bruges police.
It was feared that the three had done something to the real winner in an attempt to collect his winnings. But the transmigrant turned up at the police station on Tuesday with a lawyer, confirmed the West Flanders public prosecutor.
The man was identified as the real winner and was questioned in the presence of his lawyer. His winning ticket remains at the police station for safe keeping.
But the young migrant has not yet been able to collect the prize. The National Lottery can only pay out a large sum by depositing it in a bank account, but of course he cannot open one because he’s not a legal resident in Belgium.
The National Lottery is now looking for a way to transfer the money to him: “Illegal or not, we will pay him.”
It indicated that the money could be deposited into a foreign account with the consent of the winner.