French lottery winner to give away $122 million to charity

PARIS (AFP) - Amid all the gloom over a stagnating economy, serial scandals and a surge in support for the far-right, France finally had a good news story to celebrate on Friday.

A man who scooped more than 72 million euros (S$122 million) on the Euro Millions lottery has decided to give 50 million of his jackpot to charity.

In what the Le Parisien tabloid hailed as "an incredible act of generosity," the unidentified winner from the Haute-Garonne area of southwestern France has said he will share his giveaway between around ten NGOs working on behalf of the disadvantaged.

Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), the organisation that runs the trans-national lottery in France, said the winner had asked to remain anonymous but media reported that he was single, in his 50s and does not have have any children.

"He has a strong sense of social solidarity and he believes in generosity," an FDJ spokesman said. Social media was awash with praise for the lucky man, hailed as "a class act," by numerous commentators on Twitter.

Sociologist Denis Muzet said the act of philanthropy could not have come at a better time for France.

"This individual is sending us a message: success in life is not about how much money you earn but about what you do for others," Mr Muzet told Le Parisien.

"In a society in crisis, in search of moral reference points, where money dominates everything, his action makes sense."

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