Russian and Chinese Companies Most Likely to Bribe, Says Report

Last Updated Nov 2, 2011 1:41 PM EDT

When it comes to rankings there are plenty you'd be proud to top, but there's little but shame for the nations that take top billing in the latest list released today. Transparency International published it's periodic report (the last one came out in 2008) on which countries are home to companies mostly likely to offer brides, giving the top slots to China and Russia.

To come up with the rankings, Transparency International asked 3,000 executives which country's firms that they dealt with engage in bribery. Companies from the following countries were the least likely to offer bribes to secure foreign contracts, according to the report, though no country was said to be completely clean:

  • The Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Japan
The U.S. came in tenth out of 28 countries. Industries in which China and Russia are highly involved, such as mining and oil and gas, joined industries traditionally seen as vulnerable to corruption such as public works, utilities and real estate at the top of the list of bribe-filled sectors. Agriculture, light manufacturing and aerospace were perceived as the cleanest industries.

BRICs and Bribes
The results were no shock to readers of the BBC from China and Russia who weighed in online, with Chinese readers saying "sounds about right" and "corruption and bribe-paying happens not only in the commercial field but in almost all parts of social life here," and one Russian commentator noting that, "if you want your child to attend a kindergarten or go to a good school or enter any university, a Russian person has no other way but to bribe." One resident of India, which was most improved coming in seventh from the bottom this year, seemed surprised his country's firms weren't rated worse.

He may have been among the few who were shocked by the findings -- the fact that developing countries engage in more corruption than developed ones is hardly going to startle anyone, but as the Financial Times notes, the relatively bribe-happy ways of two of the BRIC countries are "concerning, considering their increasing importance to the global economy."

In light of the report, the Guardian isn't very optimistic about reducing corruption any time soon either. The paper's Datablog notes that, "eight years after the high-profile adoption of the UN convention against corruption, observers say there has been little real progress."

Did anything in this report surprise you?

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(Image courtesy of Flickr user Bombardier, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.