21 May 2009

Hunt for couple after bank's $10m mistake

9:35 pm on 21 May 2009

Police are searching for a couple who have fled New Zealand after a bank put millions of dollars into their account by mistake.

Radio New Zealand understands the error by Westpac followed an agreement to provide the Rotorua couple with a $10,000 overdraft for their business.

Westpac gave the couple a $10 million overdraft by mistake. Some funds from the business account have been withdrawn and the couple has left the country.

Police say they are working with Interpol to find the man and woman.

The couple is believed to have run the BP Barnetts petrol station in Old Taupo Road. It closed suddenly last week and has been put into receivership.

A spokesperson for Westpac, Craig Dowling, says the bank considers the money to have been stolen but it has already retrieved a considerable amount.

Westpac says it has changed its systems to prevent similar mistakes.

Deputy Banking Ombudsman Susan Taylor says people who receive money from their bank by mistake are obliged to repay it in most cases.