A woman found 100 million lire in cash (that’s worth a whopping £43million today) but she was told the money is worthless because the currency is no longer in use.
Claudia Moretti discovered the cash a few months ago in a safe at her uncle’s home which she had inherited following his death.
Ms Moretti, who lives in Pesaro on the Adriatic coast, was delighted to be given the house and was totally stunned when she found the fortune in the safe.
However, Ms Moretti’s hopes of being set up for life were cruelly dashed when she went to Italy’s central bank (Banca d’Italia) to have the cash exchanged into euros.
At the bank she was told the money was now worthless.
She hired lawyers to challenge the decision but they were unsuccessful because before adopting the euro currency on January 1 2002, Italy’s central bank had set a time limit for the exchange of the lira.
Lire coins or banknotes not presented to the bank before December 6, 2011, were subsequently declared worthless.
Of all the 18 eurozone countries, Italy had the strictest time limit of all, although Finland, France and Greece were just a year behind with a 2012 deadline.
The central banks of nine eurozone countries, including Germany and Ireland, set no limit for exchanging banknotes from the old national currency.