Who is the real financial criminal? Kara Hurring or the bank that tried to avoid paying its share of $3.2 billion worth of taxes?
Kara Hurring was this week found guilty of thirty charges police laid against her, which included theft and money laundering.
Hurring, of course, is the partner of Hui Gao who disappeared overseas with the $10 million that Westpac bank mistakenly put in his account. it was supposed to be an overdraft extension of $100,000.
Frankly, I've been rooting for Kara - because Westpac is one of the biggest rip-off merchants around and a huge advertisement for why the banking industry should be nationalised.
This is the bank that , along with the other Australian -owned banks, attempted to avoid paying a whopping $3.2bilion worth of taxes through a deliberate series of carefully constructed financial 'strategies'.
In 2009 Westpac and the other banks settled out of court and ended up paying just 20 percent of what the Inland Revenue was seeking. The good people of New Zealand got royally screwed yet this financial predator has a fondness of boasting about what a good community citizen it is.
Westpac has a long list of 'misdemeanours' to its name. This also includes pushing loans and insurance products onto financially stricken Christchurch customers after the earthquakes.
And while many of us have been doing it hard in these days of government-imposed austerity, Westpac's profits have been booming. In the year to September 30 2011 net profit after tax came to $454 million - a 41 per cent increase on the previous year.That money has flowed out of country and back to Australia. While the New Zealand economy continues to decline, banks like Westpac continue to suck it dry.
So who is the real financial criminal? Kara Hurring or Westpac?