As the effects of the financial crisis are being felt around the world, Transparency International’s 2008 Bribe Payers Index (BPI) exposes the degree to which companies of the leading exporting nations are likely to engage in bribery when doing business abroad. The damage caused by supplying bribes, irregular payments and other types of influence buying is clear – distorted markets and social inequity. In spite of governments’ pledges of zero tolerance for foreign bribery and assurances of ethical behavior and corporate social responsibility from companies, the 2008 BPI reveals that not one of the world’s most influential economies can be seen as being exempt from exporting international corruption. “The 2008 BPI should serve as a call to governments and companies alike to observe and pursue anti-corruption measures with renewed vigor,” it says. First place in the 2008 BPI is shared by Belgium and Canada with a score of 8.8, signifying that Belgian and Canadian firms are the least likely to engage in bribery when doing business abroad. Netherlands and Switzerland occupy third place in the index, each with a score of 8.7. At the other end of the scale is Russia, coming in last with a score of 5.9, just trailing China (6.5), Mexico (6.6) and India (6.8).
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