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'Runaway millionaire' in New Zealand court

NEW ZEALAND: A woman who allegedly fled New Zealand with her partner after a bank mistakenly deposited millions of dollars into his account appeared in court Thursday charged with theft and money laundering.

Police accuse Kara Hurring of departing for China with partner Hui (Leo) Gao after Westpac bank accidentally placed NZ$10 million (US$7.5 million) into Gao's account in April 2009. Gao had requested a NZ$100,000 dollar overdraft.

The error was discovered within days but by then some NZ$6.78 million had allegedly been transferred into other accounts and the pair had skipped the country.

Hurring, who was arrested at Auckland airport after voluntarily returning to New Zealand on February 25, appeared in Rotorua District Court Thursday on one count of stealing NZ$6.78 million and eight counts of money laundering.

She was not required to enter a plea but her lawyer said outside the court that she would would fight the charges.

The 31-year-old was granted bail and ordered to reappear in court on March 21. WELLINGTON, Thursday, AFP

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