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Imagine winning millions of rand in the Lotto or Powerball draw but couldn’t claim your prize – that’s what happened to a 28-year-old Belgian.

The man, from Algeria, won $270,000 (nearly R3.9 million) on a scratch card, according to international media. However, due to his undocumented status, he cannot receive his funds.

“I’m going to buy a house in Brussels when I have the money.” He is quoted in Belgian media as saying: “And maybe a vehicle.”

He has since embarked on a massive effort to collect his rewards, even hiring a lawyer to assist him. The biggest problem is that he has no official identity papers or fixed address, which implies that he is homeless.

“My client is in a legal bind; he lacks an identity document and a bank account. We are looking for documents that will allow us to verify his identity. His lawyer, Alexander Verstraete, told AFP that he will have to contact his relatives in Algeria.


Because he had the necessary papers, one of the man’s buddies tried to collect the lotto prizes on his behalf, but he and two others were arrested. The reason is that the authorities suspected them of stealing the winning scratch card. After the winner arrived with his attorney and explained the circumstances, they were released.

The winning ticket was purchased in Zeebrugge, a Belgian port city, a few weeks ago. It is a common stopping point for migrants and refugees en route to England.

According to Belgian media, the man fled Algeria several months ago and traveled on foot through Spain and France before arriving in Belgium. The winning lottery ticket is currently being held by a court in Zeebrugge, according to the man’s lawyer.

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