A former employee at Canadian wine group Andrew Peller has been charged with siphoning off C$7.4m (US$6.3m) of the company's money into her own accounts over 11 years.

Police in the Niagara region of Ontario have charged Christine Marie Papakriakou, 50, with offences of fraud over C$5,000 money laundering, and possession of the proceeds of the crime.

Papakriakou left Andrew Peller, formerly known as Andres Wines, in 2005 but the company did not realise any money was missing until an internal audit the following year.

A spokesman for Andrew Peller told just-drinks today (8 January) that the company has filed a lawsuit to recover part of the stolen money but said the company expected any money regained to be "significantly lower than the C$7.4m".

Andrew Peller produces wines including Croc Crossing, a blend of Australian and Canadian varietal grapes, and French Cross.