A new survey suggests that companies from Russia and China are the most likely to use bribes to further their businesses when abroad.
The two countries ranked worst in a poll conducted by watchdog group Transparency International (TI), who surveyed 3,000 businessmen from 28 countries.
Top rankers were the Netherlands and Switzerland, while the UK came ahead of the United States and France at eighth place.
In its report, TI stated that China and Russia’s presence at the bottom of the list is particularly concerning given the increasing global economic power the two countries hold.
The group also stated that bribery and other forms of corruption generally impact the society that houses them, and hurts the chances of other companies to compete fairly. Their report called for international action to make bribery in foreign countries completely illegal, saying that G20 countries should have “urgency” and more resources dedicated to the issue.
TI Russian director, Elena Panfilova, said that Russia was a particularly challenging case as there are “no islands of integrity” in either the public or business life of Russia’s corporate giants. Citing their Corruption Perceptions survey from last year, TI says that bribery appears to be much more common in countries whose governments are also perceived to have low integrity.
On the Backs of Taxpayers
While many would write this issue off as one that all developing nations face, other developing nations who are major global economic players fared far better on the TI bribery list.
India came in 19th out of 28, while Brazil took 14th place ahead of Italy.
The report states that bribery is most often used to win public sector works projects and construction contracts from the government. This is because the nature of government contracts is extremely complex, involving many sub-contractors and large infrastructure, which allow companies to inflate costs and hide payoffs.
This is seen as a particularly vexing problem because companies purchasing contracts through bribes cheats taxpayers and can lead to government officers looking the other way on important issues such as safety.
In addition to public sector contracts, both the mining and oil and gas sectors ranked among the top bribe-paying industries. China and Russia are both extremely active in these sectors.
Meanwhile, agriculture was the industry that reportedly had the fewest amount of bribes.