A certificate of debt dating from 1562 has been found in a regional archive in Germany, and should it still be valid, the hamlet of Mittenwalde could become one of the richest towns in the world, according to the Reuters.
The document states that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders on May 28, 1562, with the terms of repayment at 6 percent interest per year. That equates to about 112 million euros, and the total debt is worth trillions when compound interest and inflation are added, according to Radio Berlin Brandenburg.
Town Historian Vera Schmidt told Reuters she is convinced the debt slip is still valid, even though it has no seal.
"In 1893 there was a debate in which the document was examined and the writing was determined to be authentic," Schmidt said.
Mittenwalde's mayor has been in dispute with Berlin over the debt statement for years, according to the report. Requests for the money have been made every 50 years, to no avail.
Mittenwalde is situated 30 km from southeast Berlin and has a population of 8,800. The repayment of debt would be a significant fortune for the town.
Even if Berlin were willing to pay back the debt, it would cause a significant dent as the German capital is already close to 63 million euros in the red, according to a report released by its finance administration in June.
"This case shows that debts always catch up with you, no matter how old they are," Finance Senator Ulrich Nussbaum told the Berliner Zeitung paper.
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