A Sydney student who allegedly had $4.6 million mistakenly transferred into her bank account had already spent much of the amount on handbags. However, The Westpac overdraft case has taken a new turn, as according to a magistrate the student has not broken the law. The Sydney student appeared at Waverley Local Court on Thursday.
Twenty-one-year-old Christine Jiaxin Lee was arrested at the Sydney airport while on her way to board a flight to Malaysia, four years after the anomaly in the Westpac’s system.
Lee is a Malaysian national and a chemical engineering student. She was picked up by the Australian Federal Police from the airport on Wednesday night. She owes $3.3 million to her bank. Apparently, she purchased luxury items with the money and spent the amount in less than a year. She bought designer bags and made cash transfers. Before her arrest, Lee was residing in a sub-pent house apartment with the Sydney Harbour Bridge view. She was paying $3210 per month as rent for the apartment, Mail Online stated.
Lee, allegedly, overdrew $4,653,333.02 between July 2014 and April 2015. Her attorney Fiona McCarron informed the court that Lee spent $1 million on handbags.
However, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, magistrate Lisa Stapleton does not think that Lee has committed any crime in the Westpac overdraft case. Stapleton granted Lee bail on Thursday, it was found that Westpac mistakenly gave her an unlimited overdraw facility and she used it.
Stapleton said, “”It isn’t proceeds of crime. It’s money we all dream of.”
Fiona McCarron also said that it would be challenging for police to prove that the spending was illegal.
Stapleton echoed the same belief and said, “She didn’t take it from them. They gave it to her.”
Stapleton also stated that this implies that Lee would owe the bank the money but she would not have broken the law. However, prosecutor Marc Turner opposed the bail given to Lee and pointed that Lee had applied for an emergency Malaysia passport just after an arrest warrant was issued in March. The prosecutor informed that the bank had also tried to communicate with her but she failed to return phone calls and answer email.
Lee, on the other hand, claimed that she applied for an emergency passport as she had lost her original one. She will not be allowed to enter any international airport and will have to report to the police twice daily.