About €300,000 £255,000 ($395,000) in cash had been sitting inside the building for several years.
Ferhat Kaya, 33, recently bought a property in Ghent which had been a branch of the Dexia bank about 10 years ago. He began renovations so that he could run his accounting business out of the building.
The estate agent had given him a price for removal of the old safe but he decided to call a couple of friends to do the job.
"When the vault was open it revealed bags of 20 and 50 euro bills," The Telegraph
quoted Murat Tufan, one of the men who had been removing the vault, as saying. "The receipts were still there, dated December 31, 2001. We started counting, and it came to some 300,000 euros."
Kaya talked to his Turkish father and decided to inform the police that they had found the money.
"My friends and I thought we would really make a statement with it: that even immigrants are people that say honesty is the best policy," he said, according to The Telegraph
Ulrike Pommée, a spokesman for Dexia Bank, said that human error probably resulted in the money, which is from 2001, lying forgotten in the safe.
"We will carry out the investigation and then see if there will be a decision to give him a reward for reporting the money to police straight away,” The Telegraph
quoted her as saying.
A man in Canada found money in a house he had bought and was renovating earlier this year.
Fred Murray, of Manitoba, found old currency from Canada, China, Germany and the US above ceiling boards between rafters in the basement, as reported in the Toronto Sun
. He also found identification belonging to the man who built the house in the 1940s.
The room had been renovated at least three times previously, but the treasure had not been found because new material was simply placed over the old ceiling.