The small German town of Mittenwalde could become one of the richest in the world if officials in Berlin were to pay back the long-outstanding debt
According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg, the certificate
shows that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders
in 1562, to be paid back with six per cent interest per year.
Today the original outstanding debt would stand at an estimated £87million, an amount which would run into 'trillions
' taking into account inflation and interest.
Historian Vera Schmidt, who found the slip in the town's archives
where it had been since 1962, believes the certificate remains valid.
'In 1893 there was a debate in which the document was examined and the writing was determined to be authentic
,' Schmidt said.
Requests to settle the debt have been made by Schmidt and mayor Uwe Pfeiffer, however these appeals have so far been rejected.
Berlin's finance senator Ulrich Nussbaum, who met with the pair to discuss the debt, told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper: 'This case shows that debts always catch up with you, no matter how old they are.'
However given the current financial problems in the Eurozone, Mittenwalde may have to wait a little longer to finally receive its payback.