Jury discharged in $2.25m CBA theft trial

·2-min read

The jury has been discharged in the trial of a Sydney man who allegedly pressured his girlfriend to swindle $2.25 million from a Commonwealth Bank customer.

Judge Craig Smith officially discharged the jury on Thursday in the District Court after one person tested positive to COVID-19.

This left the jury with only nine members after two had already previously been let go, Judge Smith said.

Junchi Ma, 31, has pleaded not guilty to a string of charges including dealing with the proceeds of crime which he intended to conceal and recklessly doing so.

The crown case was Ma engaged in a joint criminal enterprise with Hsin-Yu "Angie" Tsai between September 2015 and January 2016 in stealing $2.25 million from Julius Quan, who had moved from Australia to South Africa.

Tsai said she had been under emotional and financial pressure from Ma while working as a customer service specialist at the Commonwealth Bank.

She told the jury how the pair discussed how a client hadn't moved a large sum of money for a long time and she'd had difficulty contacting that customer.

"That's when the conversation turned and he said 'are there any ways we could move around the money for our own access?'" Tsai told the court.

"I remember clearly saying we're not allowed to move funds without client authority."

The money was moved around various accounts before heading offshore, then back into Ma's grandmother's, which the Crown alleges he obtained control over using fraudulent documents.

The Crown argued he was partly motivated by a "very expensive Ferrari," but the defence contended the $650,000 car bought just weeks after the money was stolen, was purchased using legitimate funds.

Defence lawyer Winston Terracini SC said Tsai was a "wretched, evil little vixen" whose "tongue dripped with lies".

He urged the jury not to trust her evidence.

"In the honesty stakes, she has got nothing going for her," he said.

Judge Smith on Thursday said there was the possibility of moving to a judge-alone trial given he had already heard all the evidence.

The matter was set down for mention on Monday but will likely not be finalised this year.

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