THE mother of accused “runaway millionairess” Kara Hurring told her daughter to return millions of dollars accidentally deposited into her partner’s account by a bank, a court has heard.
Suzanne Hurring told the Rotorua District Court on Tuesday her daughter could not initially believe $NZ10 million ($A7.86 million) had landed in the bank account of her partner, service station owner Hui (Leo) Gao, after he requested a $NZ100,000 overdraft from Westpac.
Gao transferred about $6.7m to offshore accounts before fleeing the country, followed by Hurring and her daughter.
Hurring is now standing trial on 25 theft charges, three charges of attempting to use a document and two of money laundering.
Suzanne Hurring said she told her daughter to contact the bank to give the money back.
“She said she would sort it out,” she told the court.
The accused’s sister, Aroha Hurring, told the court her sister invited her on a holiday in China and gave her $NZ2000 to help pay the fare.
During the first few days abroad, they moved between Hong Kong and mainland China, she said.
One evening, while her sister was in Macau, Aroha Hurring saw a television news story about a New Zealand couple “running all the way from the bank” and began to panic.
“When Kara came back I asked her what was going on, she said there was nothing to worry about and not to panic,” she said.
The sister told the court she decided to return home after seeing posts on Facebook indicating people thought she’d run away with her sister and Gao.
Bianca Taute, a former flatmate of the couple, told the court Gao jumped up and down on a bed when he discovered the $NZ10m in his account.
“He was really excited, I said `what is going on?’ and he said ‘we are … rich, woo hoo’,” Taute said.
The court earlier heard that Westpac became aware of the blunder after a tipoff from an anonymous caller in China.
The trial is expected to end by Friday.
Gao has also been arrested and extradited to New Zealand. He is yet to face trial.