A restaurant boss in England was ordered yesterday to split a disputed £1 million (US$1.7 million) lottery payout with one of his waiters — who claimed he dreamed they would win a fortune together.
Judge Mark Gosnell told Hayati Kucukkoylu he must hand £500,000 of the EuroMillions prize to Fatih Ozcan.
The High Court heard Ozcan was so convinced they would win he "pestered" Kucukkoylu into buying tickets with him, sharing the stake and jointly choosing the lottery numbers.
But when the waiter's dream came true, businessman Kucukkoylu insisted the winnings were all his.
A bitter dispute ensued in which the restaurant owner threatened Ozcan and swore at him — and was then arrested after his employee accused him of stealing the ticket.
In his ruling, Judge Gosnell said, "Mr. Kucukkoylu and Mr. Ozcan entered into a contract to jointly play the lottery on an equal basis. The prize money should be shared equally between them."
The court heard the waiter spent three hours persuading Kucukkoylu, 47, to play EuroMillions with him. Judge Gosnell said, "He dreamed he was holding a large bundle of cash and standing in front of him was his boss.
"Mr. Ozcan is a strong believer in the power of dreams and interpreted this to mean they would win the lottery."
After Kucukkoylu agreed, the waiter went to a supermarket to buy tickets, which he handed to his boss but kept the receipt.
After the £1 million win, the restaurant owner claimed he won alone, but Ozcan was adamant that he chose some of the numbers, paid half of the stake — and had inspired the joint bid with his dream.
Kucukkoylu was held in police custody for nine hours after Ozcan called Camelot and reported the ticket stolen.
Ozcan later admitted he lied about the theft but said his boss had threatened him, leaving him "fearful for his safety".
The judge saw CCTV from the Kapadokya Turkish restaurant in York showing slips being filled in. It suggested both men chose numbers and each paid half the stake.
Judge Gosnell said Ozcan was "an admitted liar" but his story was "inherently more plausible". He added, "I cannot see why he would be so determined to make his employer play if he was not to benefit.
"It is much more likely he would badger his employer if he dreamed they had played together and he needed his employer to play for the dream to come true."