Germany's lost property laws should mean a Munich electrician is up for a reward worth thousands of euros. But the honest finder has been left empty-handed — so far.
A German electrician who discovered €80,000 ($100,000) hidden behind a power socket has complained about not receiving any reward for turning in the money.
While working to install a new stove into a Munich nurse's apartment, Oliver Jungtäubl found an old salt container stuffed with €26,000 in cash.
"I stayed calm," Jungtäubl told local tabloid TZ. "But the young woman behind me almost jumped out of her shoes."
The electrician called the police, who found the additional cash and needed three hours to count it all, according to TZ.
Under German law, people who find large sums of money and report it are eligible for a finder's fee of 5 percent for the first €500 and 3 percent of any additional amount. In Jungtäubl's case, this would amount to €2,410. Jungtäubl told reporters he was a single father and wanted to use the money to take his son on a holiday.
But the case has been complicated by a lengthy investigation to determine the rightful owner of the money. The money was likely stashed there by a previous tenant who has since died. Jungtäubl found the money in 2016 and the case is still pending.
"It's not even sure if the money really belonged to the deceased previous tenant. The executor refuses to pay me the 3 percent finder's fee that I am legally entitled to. She told me to get a court order. She wouldn't pay me a cent before that. The finder's fee is independent of who owns the find," Jungtäubl told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The nurse's claim
He said the case was even further complicated by the current tenant, who was trying to lodge a claim under the so-called "treasure trove" clause. In cases where the owner of an old found treasure cannot be determined, the finder is granted half ownership while the other half goes to the owner of where the treasure was hidden, usually the landowner.
Jungtäubl told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that despite being the finder, he let the tenant sign the official police form, so she was technically the beneficiary.
"People reveal their true character when it comes to a lot of money. And for honesty, they even laugh at you," he told the paper when asked what he had learned from the saga.
Jungtäubl did not say how old the notes were, but Germany began circulating euro notes in 2002.