As German economy tanks, finance minister turns to lottery
Germany’s finance minister was caught on camera checking his lottery ticket during a debate about eradicating poverty in parliament.
Berlin -- Desperate times call for desperate measures. As Germany heads for its worst recession in 60 years, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck has been spotted casting a hopeful eye at his lottery ticket.
With the jackpot at 35 million euros (45 million dollars) -- the third biggest ever -- Germany is being gripped by lottery fever and even senior ministers, it seems, are unable to resist a punt.
Steinbrueck was caught on camera checking his lottery ticket during a debate about eradicating poverty in parliament. The picture appeared on the front page of both the mass-market daily Bild and the business paper Handelsblatt.
"It was a present," Steinbrueck said when asked about it on German television. "I hope nobody knows which numbers I chose."
Unfortunately, even if he scoops the big prize -- at the odds of 14 million to one -- the cash would make only the merest dent in the new borrowing Germany has taken on to fight the recession.
At 36 billion euros, Steinbrueck would need to hit the jackpot more than 1,000 times to pay off the debt.
But the minister is more likely to pocket any gains himself, it seems. "It's a purely private matter," a spokesman said.