On March 23, a young African bought a scratch card at Spar in the Flemish town of Zeebrugge and presented himself at the counter as the winner. There, he was advised to contact the National Lottery by telephone, as sums over 2,000 euros are not paid locally.
The man then disappeared without a trace. Little was known about his identity: he had no Belgian residence permit and had not requested asylum. There were, however, pictures from the supermarket camera and a photo that the local pastor had taken.
Last Friday, three more people suddenly showed up at the National Lottery with the winning ticket, but since none of them looked like the pictures of the winner, they were arrested. Later, the winner showed up at the police station in Bruges with his lawyer. The three men turned out to be acquaintances of his and to have no ill intentions.
The scratch card will remain in the police safe for added security. The winnings must be deposited in an account, but without papers the winner cannot open an account in Belgium. We are currently studying how the money can be transferred to the winner. The National Lottery had previously announced that the man was entitled to it, “illegal or not”.
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