Monday, December 22, 2003

Well, today was the day of the big lottery draw – El Gordo, The Fat One. Several TV channels dedicated the entire morning to it. But I couldn’t take more than five minutes of some kids plain-chanting the numbers as the balls fell out of a very Sci-Fi-looking machine. So I have no idea where the big prizes have gone.

The papers today suggested that the payout would be in the region of 2.5 billion [yes, billion] Euros. Say, 1.8 billion quid. Of more interest to us non ticket holders was the news that the Tax Office will be putting the names of those who win 5,000 or more into a special database. These happy people will then be investigated to see whether their lifestyle has taken a disproportionate upswing. This is because some winners are known to sell their winnings – for a premium of 20% - to individuals who wish to launder black money. Even more interesting was the news that the Tax Office believes that introductions between buyers and sellers are routinely made by some of the banks. So they are naturally interested to know the identity of those individuals whose luck seems to be more regular than one might expect in normal circumstances. Thank-God I didn’t buy a ticket; I might just have won and entered into a whole new relationship with both my bank and the inland revenue!

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