A U.S. citizen formerly employed by a major Australian bank has been charged in Sydney with bribery and more than $1.5 million in suspected corrupt payments have been frozen as part of a joint FBI-Australian police investigation, authorities said Wednesday.
State police Fraud and Cybercrime Squad officers arrested the 61-year-old American at a Sydney apartment Tuesday and charged him with two counts of bribery, a police statement said.
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He was held in custody and will appear Wednesday in the Sydney Central Local Court, it said. His identity has not been released. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
Police want to question a second Sydney-based U.S. citizen who is also a former manager of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. That suspect is overseas.
Police said they were contacted by the bank earlier this year after internal investigators uncovered suspicious payments into the accounts of two of the bank's senior information technology staff.
The 61-year-old was the former head of IT delivery services who resigned from the bank in December.
Police allege that two of the bank's employees were involved in "a corrupt relationship with a now publicly listed overseas technology provider."
They allege the managers granted the U.S.-headquartered IT company, which has not been named, a lucrative contract without putting it to public tender, in exchange for money.
More than $1.5 million in suspected corrupt payments have been frozen in a bank account.