A BANK manager has been charged with stealing almost half a million pounds from Dame Kiri Te Kanawas retirement fund. Sokvoeun Su allegedly transferred the money from the opera singers Californian account into one of her own. The 27-year-old American is accused of making six unauthorised withdrawals, totalling more than 440,000. She has been remanded into custody on five charges of fraud and one of embezzlement. The Bank of Alameda, in the San Francisco Bay area, has since reimbursed Dame Kiri. The 65-year-old New Zealander has performed regularly with the San Francisco Opera, leading her to open a bank account in the city. Dame Kiri, who is based in Britain, was alerted to the alleged fraud by one of her financial advisers. Each withdrawal was in the form of a cashiers cheque, including one for more than 200,000. Su, who goes by the name of Cindy and has been working at the Bank of Alameda since 2007, was arrested on Tuesday. Greg Ella, of Alameda police force, said she had given birth to a girl three months ago and had been having financial troubles. 'She confessed to what she had done and she stated that she had acted alone, he said. She had purchased a house in San Leandro, she had a child and she owed some family members money. Another police spokesman claimed Su had deliberately targeted Dame Kiri. 'She knew she was an opera singer, and she knew she had a very large retirement account and she knew that she was living abroad, said the spokesman. 'She selected her as a victim for those reasons. Dame Kiri, who is in the US on a world tour, has earned a fortune performing at international venues, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York and La Scala in Milan. DM In 1981, 600million people around the world heard her sing at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. The following year she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Although she officially retired in 2004, she still performs occasional recitals. At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia, she sang Happy Birthday to the Queen. DM