Jobless student's Ferrari buy 'untainted'

·2-min read

The purchase of a very expensive Ferrari by an unemployed university student wasn't tainted by stolen funds, the Sydney man's lawyer has told a jury.

Junchi Ma, 31, is defending 18 charges related to his alleged involvement in his then-partner's misappropriation of $2.4 million in September 2015.

The Crown alleges the Pymble man's desire to buy the luxury vehicle fuelled his emotional and financial pressuring of Commonwealth Bank teller Hsin-Yu "Angie" Tsai to swindle the funds.

Days after the money was stolen, Ma put a $10,000 deposit down and signed a contract for his luxury sports car.

But the Sydney District Court jury was told on Friday evidence would show the vehicle was bought with funds from the sale of Ma's previous luxury car, his wealthy family and a "pro-rata contribution" from Tsai.

"There will be no evidence that that motor vehicle is in any way tainted with the illegal funds or subject of confiscation or any proceedings by any version of criminal or civil law to take it," Winston Terracini SC, for Ma, said in his opening address.

He dismissed any suggestion of a joint criminal enterprise, saying a whole team isn't sent off for one player's red card.

Tsai, who has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for her role, is expected to tell the court she agreed to participate in the scheme because she had been under emotional and financial pressure over a lengthy period.

At the time of the September 2015 misappropriation, she was working at a branch in Sydney's Chinatown while Ma was completing a masters of applied finance at Macquarie University.

Prosecutor Michael Smith on Thursday said the couple spent weeks working out how to move the money from the account of the victim, who'd moved to South Africa.

She put aside about $150,000 for herself, which Ma is not charged over.

The other $2.25m flowed through various accounts until eventually going offshore.

The Crown alleges it eventually dropped into Ma's grandmother's account, to which Ma had gained authority through fraudulent documentation.

But casting Tsai as a liar who'd "sugar-coated" her earlier evidence to the court, Mr Terracini said his client had "nothing to do, in any meaningful way" with the stealing, transferring or disposing of any money that came from Julius Quan's account.

"(She is) not a truthful witness in whole, she might be in part, but it will be put to you that she uses truth like a weapon, very very sparingly used," Ma's barrister said.

"He maintains that at no time did he know any of these monies were illegally or improperly obtained, and did not use them so."

Mr Quan learned his funds were missing in 2019 when he returned to Australia and found his balance was $13,000. He immediately reported the matter to police.

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