Christmas bonus? Bank accidentally drop $250m into lucky Brits' accounts

The money came out of the bank's own reserves.
The money came out of the bank's own reserves. Photo credit: Getty Images

A bank in the UK is scrambling to recoup more than NZ$250 million it accidentally paid out on Christmas Day.

Santander deposited £130 million into 75,000 different accounts, many of them with rival banks. The money reportedly came from the bank's own reserves. 

"We’re sorry that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts," the bank said in a statement. "None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result, and we will be working hard with many banks across the U.K. to recover the duplicated transactions over the coming days."

Santander has asked other banks, including Barclays, HSBC and Virgin Money, to help them out, the Times of London reported

UK law prohibits people from keeping money wrongly deposited into their account, if they know it was a mistake - offenders face up to 10 years in jail. Two sisters who spent £135,000 that mysteriously appeared in their account in 2008 were jailed for 10 months, the New York Times reported

US firm Citibank earlier this year was prevented from recouping hundreds of millions it wrongly paid out early, a judge ruling the bank owed that money anyway. 

In 2009 a Kiwi couple went on the run after waking up to find Westpac had accidentally given them a $10 million overdraft. One was eventually jailed, the other sentenced to home detention.