Scandinavia tops anti-corruption league

Nordic financial culture has been recognised as the world’s cleanest by
anti-corruption organisation Transparency International, but Britain continues
to remain strong in the fight against financial crime.

The group hailed northern Europe as the region most free of money laundering,
bribes and kickbacks, with such criminal acts being rarest in Iceland, according
to TI’s 2005 corruption rankings.

Finland and New Zealand tied for second place, Denmark was fourth, Sweden
came sixth while Norway ranked eighth. This, said the group, reflects the
region’s ‘professional and transparent public administration combined with
strong civil society and civic culture’.

Britain, as in recent years, has scored well, coming joint 11th cleanest,
with the Netherlands. The UK is less corrupt than some of its key European Union
competitors with Germany ranking 16th place, France in 18th and Italy way down
in 40th place. Transparency International slammed the Italians for their failure
to crack down on financial crime,

Greece, the Czech Republic and Poland were also criticised for having shown
‘little or no sign of improvement’ in fighting corruption. Poland, in 70th
place, is the worst EU performer, sharing its standing with Burkina Faso,
Lesotho and Syria.

Transparency International has warned that this level of corruption could
weaken the EU’s credibility as a force against financial crime.

But countries applying to join the EU have become less corrupt, such as
Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia and Romania. By contrast, Russia and Belarus have
become more corrupt, following a taming of independent media outlets and
non-governmental organisation watchdogs.

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