The young migrant who won €250,000 with a €5 scratch card in the port of Zeebrugge in March has finally been able to collect his prize, after weeks of trying to find a way to open a bank account without the right documents.
At the end of March, the man won €250,000 with a €5 scratchcard that he bought in a supermarket in Zeebrugge. However, as he did not have a bank account and the store could not pay out his winnings in cash, he disappeared without collecting his winnings, before turning up again.
"In the end, we managed to make arrangements with the National Lottery and the money was paid into an account. In consultation with the client, I cannot give any further details about this," the man's lawyer Alexander Verstraete told VRT on Friday.
"As always happens with big winners, an appointment [with the National Lottery] is made. A few documents are signed and congratulations are given," he added.
- Migrant wins €250,000 with €5 scratchcard, then disappears
- Migrant who won €250,000 with €5 scratchcard in Belgium turns up after all
- 'Find a house and a wife': Migrant who won €250,000 wants to stay in Belgium
As soon as it was known that the winner had no residence permit or official papers in Belgium in March, the National Lottery made it clear that it was determined to find the man and that he was entitled was to his winnings, "documented or not."
However, opening a bank account without a residence permit is not possible in Belgium, making it hard for the National Lottery to pay out the prize, as such large amounts are not allowed to be paid out in cash.
The Lottery proposed that the money be deposited into a foreign bank account with the consent of the winner. Whether or not this is the solution that the winner and his lawyer used is unclear.
In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws in mid-April, the man said that three of his friends already tried to go to the National Lottery with the winning ticket to help him try to collect his prize. However, as none of them matched the camera footage of the winner, the police arrested them. They were only released after the real winner explained the situation.
The man initially wanted to cross the Channel to the United Kingdom but has now decided he wants to build a life and open up a store in Belgium. "I am going to buy a place to live in Brussels. And maybe a car. And of course, I will also look for a wife. I'm not going to find one with my money, but with my heart."