Algerian in Belgium with ‘no papers’ battles to claim lotto win | Migration News
The winning ticket was purchased in Zeebrugge, a port city and popular transit point for migrants and refugees.
An Algerian citizen believed to be staying undocumented in Belgium is fighting to claim the 250,000 euro ($270,000) jackpot won on scratch cards, with authorities insisting it can only be paid if he We can prove our identity.
Alexander Verstraete, the 28-year-old’s lawyer, told AFP news agency on Friday: “My client is in an illegal situation, he has no papers and no bank account.
“We are looking for documents that can prove his identity. He will have to contact his family in Algeria.”
Verstraete said the winning scratch card is currently being held by a court in Bruges after three friends tried unsuccessfully to reclaim it on behalf of his customer.
The friends, also from North Africa, were detained by police for one night on suspicion of theft before being released when the real winner went to see his lawyer.
The winning ticket was purchased a few weeks ago in Zeebrugge. Belgium’s port city is a popular destination migrants and refugees trying to get to the UK are hidden in lorries or containers.
Verstraete said his client, who has no intention of applying for asylum to stay in Belgium, received a promise from authorities that he would not be deported until he received his award.
The prize was the jackpot of a scratch card that sold for 5 euros ($5.5), offering a “one in 3.69 chance” of winning some payout, according to the national lottery website. family.
The retailer that sold the ticket is prohibited from awarding such prizes in cash.
Joke Vermoere, a spokesman for the national lottery, said that for any prize larger than 100,000 euros ($108,000), the winner must visit the company’s headquarters in Brussels.
That’s where the winner’s three friends went.
“The winner did not show up at our venue, nor did we see him, which is hindering the awarding process for the time being,” Vermoere said.
She did not specify the conditions or the nature of the documents required to claim the win.
“It’s in the hands of the prosecutor’s office in Bruges,” she said.