Honest Finder Reports Worthless Billions in Germany | News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW | 20.02.2006
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Honest Finder Reports Worthless Billions in Germany

A 27-year-old man in western Germany dutifully brought in a sack filled with billions of Yugoslav dinars to his local police station. Unfortunately, the finder's reward isn't quite enough for a new life of luxury.


Five thousand of these will look great on the wall

Fivehundred and seventy-two billion sounds like quite an impressive sum. 574,000,000,000 looks equally mind-boggling. Even when converting such a fortune from Serbia's national currency to euros, the amount of roughly 6.56 billion euros ($7.8 billion) would even catch Bill Gates' attention.

And 574 billion dinars is what a 27-year-old from Mönchengladbach in western Germany found in his basement when he recently moved into a new apartment.

The young man could have kept the treasure and not told anyone about it. But he probably knew about Germany's law on finders' rewards that entitled him to three percent of the sum. In euros, that would be 196.8 million, which still sounds like a amount one person could be happy with for the rest of his life.

So off he went to the local police station, probably already dreaming of his new life among the rich and famous.

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It really wasn't worth the effort

"Dream on," any Yugoslav who struggled with the country's skyrocketing inflation during the 1990s could have told him.

When the bank notes were produced 14 years ago, they were worth exactly 23 eurocent. The 27-year-old would have gotten barely more than a cent as reward at that time. Today, the money is absolutely worthless.

The finder's dreams of a high life might have been turned to dust. But, he could consider putting the notes to some other creative use instead -- like adorning his apartment with some unusual wallpaper.

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