'Runaway millionaire' granted bail

By Edward Gay

Accidental millionaire Hui Gao. File photo / Christine Cornege
Accidental millionaire Hui Gao. File photo / Christine Cornege

A friend of the man dubbed the "runaway millionaire'' has put up her $440,000 Auckland home as bond for bail.

Leo Gao, 31, was excused from appearing at the High Court at Auckland today (Fri) where his lawyer Ron Mansfield successfully applied for electronically-monitored bail.

The Crown opposed the application, and Justice Murray Gilbert SC suppressed all legal arguments.

Justice Gilbert delivered his decision at 4pm today. The reasons behind his decision have also been suppressed.

Part of the conditions include that Gao's friend mortgage her property to the tune of $440,000 as an a surety that Gao will keep to his bail conditions.

The friend has name suppression.

Gao is also on a 24-hour curfew to his brother's home in Avondale and is not allowed to have access to the internet.

Outside court, Mr Mansfield told APNZ that his office had been in touch with Gao.

"He is pleased and relieved.''

He said Gao was looking forward to spending time with family, including his daughter.

Gao faces 16 charges of theft of $6,782,000 and two charges of money laundering at the Rotorua District Court.

He has been ordered to surrender his passport to police and not make contact with his former partner Kara Hurring.

The charges relate to offending alleged to have been committed between April 24 and May 5, 2009 in Rotorua and Auckland.

Gao had applied to Westpac for a $100,000 overdraft in 2009 for his struggling BP petrol station but the bank accidentally transferred a $10 million overdraft in to his account. When he realised the error he allegedly skipped the country.

Hurring, and the mother of his child, followed days later.

Gao is accused of transferring almost $6.8 million of Westpac's money into several accounts before fleeing overseas.

About $3.7 million has not been recovered.

The couple's disappearance sparked an international manhunt involving Interpol and other overseas agencies.

Gao was arrested in Hong Kong in September last year and was returned to New Zealand just before Christmas. He did not oppose being extradited and was remanded in custody.

Hurring, 32, was arrested when she re-entered New Zealand earlier last year. She faces trial in May.

- APNZ

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