In figures: Global corruption

Despite anti-bribery legislation, companies from the leading exporting nations still routinely pay bribes in developing countries.

by Nick Loney, World Business

Overseas bribery by companies from the world's leading exporting nations is still common despite strong anti-bribery laws. The Bribe Payers Index (BPI) survey examines the propensity of companies from the 30 leading exporting nations to bribe abroad.

Companies from the wealthiest countries generally rank in the top half of the index, but still routinely pay bribes in developing countries. Companies from emerging export powers, such as India, China and Russia, rank among the worst bribe payers. Even the top performers need to improve.

The Australian Wheat Board was found to have paid bribes to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime under the Oil-for-Food programme. In Asia, strong domestic anti-corruption measures do not necessarily translate into responsible business practice abroad, especially in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

They are ranked significantly worse by respondents from non-OECD countries. Both the UN and the OECD have anti-corruption conventions in place, but enforcement is difficult. Progress is also undermined by the fact that countries such as China, India and Russia remain outside the framework.

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