15 May 2012

Runaway millionaire's sister freaked out, court told

7:26 pm on 15 May 2012

The sister of a woman accused of stealing millions of dollars from Westpac bank says she "freaked out" when she discovered she had been dragged into the situation.

Kara Hurring, 33, is on trial at the Rotorua District Court on 30 charges of theft and money laundering.

Ms Hurring and her former partner Hui Gao are accused of transferring nearly $6 million from his account into various accounts before leaving New Zealand for China in 2009.

The court heard how Ms Hurring paid for her sister to come over for a holiday.

In her evidence, Aroha Hurring told the court she did not realise her sister was a runaway millionaire, and that she "freaked out" and flew home as soon as she saw the news.

In his opening submission, Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch told the court on Tuesday when Ms Hurring arrived in Macau she loaded about $340,000 on to a players' account at a casino.

"It was then withdrawn into chits - very little of which was used for gambling purposes, as far as the casino was concerned.

"The Crown allege that this was the accused assisting Mr Gao endeavouring to hide or wash or clean some of this money that had been taken from Westpac transferred to casino accounts in Macau."

Ms Hurring returned voluntarily last year to face the charges.

Her trial is set down for four days.

Hui Gao, a Chinese national, was extradited in late 2011 and also faces a number of charges.