One man’s lengthy battle with the Croatian justice system over a ‘1 million kuna’ (130,000 euros) payday resulting from his appearance as a contestant on the popular quiz show ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ is set to enter its 9th year, after the Zagreb County Court recently quashed a judgment made by a Municipal Civil Court…
It all started for Osijek-resident Siniša Engler in 2005 when, as a 38-year-old, he appeared on the Croatian version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’. After being the fastest finger and getting the chance to sit in the hot seat, Engler began to breeze through the questions thrown at him. The IT expert advanced to the final question for 1 million kuna, a question that after 8-years the Croatian justice system is yet to find an answer for.
Engler’s ‘million-kuna’ question read: ‘What is the surname of the first Russian to reach the top of the WTA (tennis) list? Kuznetsova, Kournikova, Dementieva, and Sharapova were the 4 possible choices. After using his joker 50-50, Engler was left with the choice of either Kournikova or Sharapova.
“I was deciding between those so the joker did not help. I remembered when I was in USA and there was a computer virus called ‘Kournikova’. Thanks to the virus I got interested in Kournikova and I found out she was the first Russian number 1 on the WTA doubles list,” Engler told daily Jutarnji list.
After some thought Engler selected Kournikova as his final answer.
When the show’s host told Engler that his answer was incorrect he made his way home, but that would not be the end of it. After researching the WTA list, Engler discovered that although Sharapova was the first Russian to reach the top of the WTA singles list in 2005, Kournikova reached the top of the WTA doubles list in 1999. Engler sent the show this fact but was only rejected, a decision the Municipal Civil Court agreed with when he pursued legal measures, despite evidence from tennis experts claiming that both the WTA singles and doubles lists are considered on equal level. Six years later and the case is still going on after the higher County Court quashed that judgement this summer.
Engler, who was offered 32,000 kuna by the show but turned it down, is suing the show for 999,000 kuna, after winning 1,000 kuna already from passing the first level. Who knows when the saga of the poorly worded question will end. (pic: screenshot)