Indian-origin Sikh on trial for $10.4mn crypto bungle in Melbourne

An Indian-origin Sikh and his partner, who received $10.4 million from a cryptocurrency company by mistake, will face trial in Australia over allegations that they spent the money on items including a $1.2 million house.

Jatinder Singh, 37, and his partner, Thevamanogari Manivel, 40, appeared by video link from prison in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, where they were committed to stand trial over theft and other charges, the Canberra Times reported.

Crypto.com intended to refund Manivel $100 but she was erroneously transferred $10,474,143. The company noticed its mistake when an audit was conducted in December 2021.

A subsequent probe found that an employee in Bulgaria, who processed the refund in May 2021, had incorrectly entered $10.4 million into an Excel spreadsheet.

Even though that Crypto.com account was in Singh’s name, the transfer was sent to Manivel’s account as he used her bank card to buy cryptocurrency, the Melbourne Magistrates Court was told.

Singh allegedly thought he won the money after being sent a notification from the Crypto.com app about a competition. This was also what he told Manivel, a Malaysian national.

Investigations have since revealed that $4 million of the money was allegedly transferred to an offshore bank account with other amounts spent on items including a $1.2 million home in Craigieburn and three other properties, a car, art, furniture and gifts to friends in Melbourne of more than $1 million each, a report in The Age said.

Manivel, presently out on bail, was arrested at Melbourne Airport in March 2022 while allegedly trying to fly home to Malaysia on a one-way ticket with about $11,000 in cash.

The couple will face directions hearing in the County Court on November 8.

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