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The raffle being drawn by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman, DDF, on Wednesday Image Credit:

Dubai: An Indian expat from Dubai has won a million dollars, but he cannot collect the cheque as he is in his hometown in Kerala and cannot fly down because of flight suspensions in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday, August 23, Dubai Duty Free (DDF) announced a series of prizes in its latest draw. The main prize - the mega million dollar raffle - was won by Indian expat Paraparambil George Varghese.

Despite several calls and emails to the winner from the organisers on Wednesday, there was no response. Yesterday, however, he got back, expressing his happiness with the mega win.

Speaking to Gulf News, Varghese, a sales executive in Dubai, said he is eagerly waiting for the flights to resume so he can come and collect his mega prize money. A resident of the UAE since 40 years, Paraparambil said he is grateful for the win - especially since it has come at at a time when the coronavirus outbreak is affecting businesses.

Varghese said he has not yet decided as to what he will do with the million dollars but added that it will be put to good use.

His winning ticket number 1017 was picked from the series 328.

It was a lucky day for another British expat Darren Stanhope, who won a Moto Guzzi V7 Special ABS (Nero Onice. His winning ticket number 0179 was picked from the series 404. Stanhope works as a recruitment manager and has been a resident of Dubai for the last 15 years.

“Thank you so much for giving me this blessing during this very difficult time. This is also an early birthday gift for me. My birthday is on April 30 and I am very happy,” he said.

Another Indian expat living in Dubai, Ravichandran Ramaswamy, 50, won an Aprilla Tuono RR (Grigio Magny). His winning ticket number 0496 was picked in the series 405.

Ramaswamy, who hails from Chennai in India, has been a resident of Dubai for the last four years. He bought five tickets online in the motorbike series for Dh100 each. He works as a manager for a private company in Dubai and he said he is a regular DDF ticket purchaser.

British national living in Singapore, Mike McKinney, 57, won a Bentley Benteyga V8 (Onyx Black) in Series 1750 with ticket number 1888.

A regular participant of the DDF promotion for 15 years, McKinney purchased his winning ticket on February 29 on his way to Houston for a business trip. His winning ticket 888 is said to be a lucky number in Chinese.

The DDF Millennium Millionaire and Finest Surprise promotions, held at the organiser’s head office in Ramool, also saw three others win luxury vehicles.