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'Accidental millionaire' unaware where $10m came from, court hears

Published: 1:24PM Thursday May 17, 2012 Source: ONE News

One of the 'accidental millionaires' told police she did not know where the $10 million deposited into her former partner's bank account came from until she saw it on the news in China.

Video evidence of the interview Kara Hurring gave to police when she returned to Auckland after two years evading authorities in China was shown today at Rotorua District Court.

Hurring told police her former partner Leo Gao  was acting "weird" and said he had "won Lotto" when he discovered a $10 million overdraft was accidentally loaded onto his Westpac bank account three years ago. The service station owner had asked Westpac for a $100,000 overdraft.

Hurring also said Gao initially refused to let her travel with him when he left for China less than a week after discovering the banking error, but later asked her to join him.

Hurring, who with Gao was dubbed an 'accidental millionaire', has denied 25 counts of theft to the value of $11,000, two counts of international money laundering to the value of around $235,000 and three counts of dishonestly using a document.

Today, Hurring refused to answer questions about the four days she spent in Auckland in the lead up to her flight to China.

Hurring allegedly spent thousands on clothing and food, despite claiming she was unaware where the money came from at that stage.

Hurring also refused to answer when she was quizzed about whether she had gambled at the popular tourist destination of Macau.

The jury also saw police footage where Hurring denied she planned to stay in Hong Kong permanently, even though she had only booked a one-way ticket.   

"I thought I was coming back, I wouldn't have parked the bloody ute at the airport if I didn't think I wasn't coming back," Hurring told police.

The jury will retire tomorrow.

Westpac error

The 'accidental millionaires' allegedly transferred a total of around $6.7 million to separate bank accounts when the banking mistake was made in April 2009.

The pair then left New Zealand - Gao on April 20 and Hurring on May 3.

The error was discovered on May 5, and approximately half the money was retrieved from New Zealand accounts, leaving around $3.8 million unrecovered.

Hurring, 33, returned to New Zealand in February last year after she gave birth.

Gao, a Chinese-New Zealander, returned in December last year after he was arrested by Interpol trying to cross into Hong Kong.

In February, he was granted bail at the High Court in Auckland. He faces 16 charges of theft and 11 of money laundering.

He is on electronic bail in Auckland, awaiting trial.