Couple 'on the run' after NZ$10m bank error

26 May 2009

An international manhunt is underway for a New Zealand couple who fled after their bank mistakenly deposited almost NZ$10 million ($6.1 million) into their account.

Interpol have been called in to assist New Zealand police in searching for the couple, Leo Gao and Kara Young, after they disappeared after apparently telling friends they were going on holiday.

They had applied for a loan of NZ$10,000 but an employee at Westpac bank mistakenly deposited 1,000 times that amount into an account belonging to a petrol station partially owned by Mr Gao.

According to the Times, the couple suddenly shut up the garage on May 7th and fled. They are believed to have around NZ$6 million of the money with them.

It added that New Zealand's banking ombudsman, Liz Brown, has said it is a criminal offence to spend money mistakenly deposited into a client's account if they knew the money was not rightfully theirs.

Meanwhile, Andrew Campbell of finance worker's union Finsec told the New Zealand Press Association that it is "not uncommon in the day-to-day business of data entry in a bank for mistakes to be made".

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