Accused CBA IT execs prepare for bribery committal hearing

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Accused CBA IT execs prepare for bribery committal hearing

Date set down for next February

The case against two former Commonwealth Bank IT executives charged with corruption is scheduled to go to committal hearing next February, almost a year after charges were first laid.

Lawyers for Keith Hunter and Jon Waldron, the two former executives accused of receiving over $2 million worth of allegedly corrupt payments from CSC-owned firm ServiceMesh, fronted court today.

They revealed the case was ready to go to committal hearing, where a magistrate will decide whether the prosecution has enough evidence to satisfy a jury that the pair have committed an indictable offence.

Should the prosection's case pass this test, Hunter and Waldron will stand trial.

Lawyers for the former IT executives are pushing for Hunter and Waldron to be exempted from attending the initial hearings. They were instructed to file their submissions by December 17, with the crown prosecutor to reply by February 11.

The matter will then be brought back to court on February 18.

The crown prosecutor revealed the brief for the case was 25 volumes thick, which he labelled "significantly large" for such a case.

Waldron and Hunter have been excused from attending the next court appearance.

The pair are charged with receiving $2 million in kickbacks in exchange for awarding ServiceMesh - just prior to its takeover by CSC in 2013 - a lucrative contract with the Commonwealth Bank to build the foundation of the bank's core banking platform.

Ace Foundation lawsuit also drawn out

The civil case filed against CBA by Ace Foundation, an organisation NSW Police claims was set up to faciliate the payments to the IT executives, also looks likely to stretch into 2016 after the not-for-profit last month indicated the case would not likely be ready for trial before next May.

Ace Foundation - which was set up last year thanks to a multi-million dollar injection by ServiceMesh founder Eric Pulier, the man at the centre of the scandal - claims CBA wrongfully froze the $2 million worth of alleged bribes.

The organisation engaged Hunter and Waldron mid-last year as consultants, and claims the $2.53 million being held by CBA was funds advanced to the executives to cover costs they would incur during their work for the not-for-profit.

The foundation said, as a result of the frozen cash, it had been deprived of "critical funds" needed to keep its projects running.

"Ace brings this action to recover its money that it lost due to CBA's intentional and wrongful interference with Ace's contractual relationship with its consultants."

It is seeking damages and costs, as well as interest from the over $2 million being held.

Pulier is also being sued by his former employer CSC for at least US$98 million (A$122 million) over alleged "fraud, breach of contract, and breach of the duty of loyalty".

He resigned from CSC just days before he was due to be let go for violating CSC's code of business conduct over "conflicts of interest and appearance of improprieties".

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