NEWS

Refugee’s grandson nets 10mln in lottery

A 67-year-old olive farmer from a small island village in the northeastern Aegean was revealed yesterday as the winner of Greece’s 10-million-euro New Year state lottery. Nikos Tsesmedzis, who lives in the northern Lesvos village of Sykaminia, was a regular punter who had never won much on the lottery. But this year his set of five state lottery tickets – which cost him 25 euros – contained the top number, 55284 from the 68th series, which won 5 million euros (1.7 billion drachmas) in the New Year’s Eve draw. The other four raked in 1.25 million each. «So much money, from one day to another,» he mused. «Could this be a joke?» Tsesmedzis attributed his sudden good fortune to divine favor, saying he had laid the tickets under a religious icon that had belonged to his grandfather, one of the 1.5 million Greeks forced to leave their Asia Minor homes after the 1919-22 Graeco-Turkish war.