Former Commonwealth Bank manager charged with multi-million dollar bribery

Criminal Law

A 61 year-old former worker for the Commonwealth Bank appeared in Central Local Court today charged with bribery arising out of a series of overseas transactions.


Keith Hunter was charged by Fraud and Cybercrime Squad of NSW Police following a joint NSW Police and FBI investigation.

The tip-off came from an internal investigation which identified suspicious payments into the accounts of Hunter and another CBA IT manager.

It is alleged that Hunter, a US national residing in Sydney, gave a contract to a Californian IT supplier in exchange for bribes, which was paid to Hunter via a shell company set up for this purpose.

Hunter faces charges of corrupt commission or reward and money laundering.

It is alleged that the amount of the benefits run into the millions of dollars.

The legal framework

Under s 249B of the Crimes Act 1900, it is an offence punishable by up to 7 years’ jail for an agent to receive or solicit a bribe in exchange for doing something or showing favour to an individual, in relation to the affairs or business of the agent’s principal.

Money laundering is an offence under both the Crimes Act (NSW) and the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995, depending on whether the dealings occur entirely within NSW or interstate or partially in Australia and partially overseas. Penalties for intentionally dealing with the proceeds of crime range from 15-20 years in NSW and from 5-25 years under Commonwealth law depending on whether the offender is negligent as to, reckless as to, or knows that the money is proceeds of crime, where the amount exceeds $1 million. Subsequent court reports will reveal the particulars of the charge.

Proceedings can also be made to freeze and recover property as proceeds of crime. Again, whether the dealings are entirely within NSW or interstate will determine whether the Confiscation of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1989 (NSW) or the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) is invoked. Both sets of legislation provide for the police to apply to the Supreme Court to firstly “freeze” assets of the defendant where he or she is suspected of dealing with the proceeds of crime, and to apply for the confiscation of the defendant’s assets where the police can prove that those assets are the proceeds of crime.

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Image credit: ABC News

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