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Cancer con artist Belle Gibson took overseas holidays but says she cannot afford fine

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The disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson spent more than $90,000 in two years and went to Bali and Africa, a court has heard, but still claimed she could pay her fine for conning Australians.

Gibson was fined $410,000 for breaching consumer laws after claiming she cured her non-existent brain cancer through diet and alternative therapies.

A financial analysis of the 27-year-old showed she spent about $91,000 between 2017 and 2019, which she denied.

“I don’t believe your figure is correct,” she told the federal court in Melbourne on Thursday.

But Carl Moller, for Consumer Affairs, said its analysis showed $13,000 in that period was splurged on clothes, cosmetics and accessories.

The con artist had also taken trips, including to Bali in 2017, because she wanted to “take leave of her situation here in Melbourne”.

During her Bali trip, $1,600 was paid into her account to help fund her ongoing travel, but she was not sure who transferred her the cash.

“Is it seriously your evidence that $1,600 was deposited into your account, in three deposits in the space of about a week, and you don’t know who deposited it?” Moller asked.

“I’d have to speculate and I’m not willing to do that,” Gibson replied.

She had previously said she went to East Africa on a holiday which was a gift from a mysterious room mate named “Clive”.

Gibson said that thousands of dollars going into her account was not income, but repayments for running errands for friends who did not have time to do their shopping or get their car serviced.

However, she failed to explain why she withdrew $3,500 cash from Collingwood in October and what it was used for.

She earlier broke down in tears when quizzed about her relationship with “Claire”, who she was caring for under an arrangement with the woman’s daughter.

“I’m sorry … it’s of a personal nature, it’s not something I want to be discussing,” she replied when questioned about the arrangement with the woman.

She was asked whether the woman had died, but said no, before she began to cry, took her glasses off and said it was because of her “empathetic nature”.

“I care about these people,” she said.

The arrangement with the woman started through online outsourcing skills site AirTasker but Gibson said she had since been kicked off the platform.

“[I’m] no longer able to use the platform,” she said. “I’m uncertain why.”

Despite lavish spending habits detailed in her bank statements, she said she was unable to pay the penalty.

“I’m not in a position to pay a $410,000 fine at this stage,” she said.

Last month the court was told forensic accounts examining Gibson’s bank accounts had discovered “curious” trading, including of crypto-currencies and a Sportsbet account.

As well as claiming she cured herself of cancer, Gibson lied to customers and said she would donate money from her Whole Pantry app and book sales to charities.

Gibson received $440,500 from sales of her app and book but donated only about $10,000.

Her barrister, Andrew Tragardh, previously said his client could not afford to keep coming back to court.

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