Eritrean beats deportation threat in Swedish lottery win

David Landes
David Landes - [email protected]
Eritrean beats deportation threat in Swedish lottery win

A 28-year-old Eritrean national living illegally in Sweden collected a 1.2 million kronor ($167,000) lottery prize on national television Saturday morning.


Tesfaldet Tesloy came to Sweden six years ago to live with his brother who has lived in the country for 20 years. But in 2006, Tesloy received word that his application for a residence permit had been rejected and he was scheduled for deportation.

However, authorities have yet to succeed in sending Tesloy back to his native Eritrea.

He explained to Lasse Bengtsson, host of the TV4 morning news magazine programme Nyhetsmorgon lördag, that he feared he could be deported “at any time”.

But before Tesloy scraped the Triss scratch lottery tickets which would award him 10,000 kronor a month for the next ten years, he learned from Bengtsson that he need not worry about being sent back to Eritrea.

According to Alf Isaksson of the Stockholm police, who had been contacted by producers of the programme, “it’s very hard to send someone back to Eritrea.”

When asked whether or not the police might now try to act on Tesloy’s case following his appearance on television, Isaksson said he didn’t expect much to happen.

“There’s no one who cares about him, I’m convinced of that,” he said, according to a statement read by Bengtsson.

Tesloy, who is unable to work because he lacks proper documentation, said his winnings would help him “realize his dreams”.

Despite not having a Swedish personal identity number (personnummer), Tesloy said he had managed to obtain a bank account, and could therefore receive the money awarded to him by Sweden’s gaming monopoly Svenska Spel, which operates the Triss scratch game.

He told the Reuters news agency he plans to use his winnings to pursue a licence to practice physical therapy.


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