The boyfriend of a Sydney woman who allegedly had A$4.6 million (NZ$4.98m) mistakenly given to her by her bank, said he was in shock over allegations.

Vincent King arrived at Waverley Local Court this afternoon to bail out the chemical engineering student Christine Jiaxin Lee, 21, who he said was "a good girl".

Mr King said he had "no idea" she had access to the money, had never seen her buy expensive items and was in the dark about his girlfriend's situation until she called him today asking for help.

The court heard earlier that a Westpac "glitch" allowed Lee access to $4.6 million, part of which she spent on luxury handbags.

Advertisement

The bank inadvertently gave Lee access to an unlimited overdraft account four years ago when she was a month off turning 18.

Police allege between July 2014 and April 2015 Lee allegedly made withdrawals on numerous occasions that totalled $4,653,333.02 - of which $3.3 million was still "outstanding".

Lee was arrested last night trying to fly to Malaysia after obtaining an emergency passport.

When told outside court the amount Ms Lee allegedly had access to, Mr King said: "That's big money."

The couple have been in a relationship for 18 months.

She been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

ROTORUA DAILY POST
25 Aug, 2012 5:30am
7 minutes to read

It is also alleged she failed to notify the bank that she was not entitled to the money.

But Magistrate Lisa Stapleton raised doubts about whether Lee's alleged use of the money was a proceed of crime if the bank had "inadvertently" given her an overdraft facility that she then took advantage of.

"It isn't proceeds of crime. It's money we all dream of," she said.

Vincent King knew nothing of his girlfriend's million-dollar windfall. Photo / news.com.au
Vincent King knew nothing of his girlfriend's million-dollar windfall. Photo / news.com.au

According to the Westpac website, a personal overdraft is an unsecured loan (up to an agreed limit) that forms part of your everyday Westpac Choice bank account.

When Lee's lawyer Fiona McCarron said the money was partly spent on luxury item like expensive handbags, Ms Stapleton remarked: "That's a lot of handbags."

She agreed with Ms McCarron when the lawyer said the police would struggle to prove the spending of the money was illegal.

"They gave it to her," Ms Stapleton said. If that was proved to be the case, then Lee would owe the money to Westpac and have to pay it back, but she wouldn't necessarily have broken the law, Ms Stapleton said.

Ms McCarron, when arguing for her client's bail, said, while the first reading of the facts made for "suspicious reading", the case was not as straightforward as it appeared.

She said there was nothing "nefarious" about Ms Lee trying to obtain an emergency passport as she had simply lost her own passport.

Ms Lee was prevented from boarding a flight to Malaysia at Sydney Airport by federal police on Wednesday night.

She had been living in Australia for a year before she opened the Westpac account.

Prosecutor Marc Turner said the bank and police had tried to speak to her about the money but she didn't return emails or phone calls.

A fraud squad investigation began in 2012 but it took until March this year for a warrant to be issued for her arrest. Within weeks she applied for a passport, Mr Turner said.

- news.com.au