Retired National Lottery official: No recollection telling winner to get family to sign ticket

A retired official from the National Lottery says he has no recollection of telling a winner to get family members to sign the ticket to avoid gift tax.

He was giving evidence to the High Court in a legal action between a Galway man and his stepmother over a €3.3m win in January 2011.

In the almost 28 years Eamon Hughes spent working as the National Lottery’s Claims Officer, he dealt with over 4,000 lucky winners.

He spoke over the phone with Mary Walsh on the morning of Jan 24th 2011.

During her evidence, she claimed she told him she was the sole owner of one of two winning tickets for the weekend lotto.

Under cross-examination, he was asked why then he had referred to the win as a family syndicate in internal emails sent to his colleagues.

After much toing and froing, he accepted that she probably told him it was a syndicate.

Her stepson David, of Knocknagreena in Ballinasloe, is suing her for a share of the prize as one of six people who signed the back of the ticket.

His stepmother claims she was advised by Mr. Hughes to get family members to sign it to avoid paying gift tax, but he says he had no recollection of that conversation.

The case resumes tomorrow.

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