Chinese, Russian companies most likely to engage in bribery when doing business abroad – Transparency International

Bribing public officials when doing business abroad is a regular occurrence, according to a Transparency International (TI) survey of 3,000 business executives from developed and developing countries.

The 2011 Bribe Payers Index report released by Transparency International early November ranks 28 leading international and regional exporting countries by the likelihood of their firms to bribe abroad.

According to the index, companies from Russia and China, who invested $120 billion overseas in 2010, are seen as most likely to pay bribes abroad with companies from the Netherlands and Switzerland seen as least likely to bribe.

On a scale of 10, China and Russia out of the 28 countries were the only companies that scored below 7 with scores of 6.5 and 6.1, respectively.

Focusing on China and Russia, the report said “The countries at the receiving end of Chinese and Russian investment feel the effects not just of the financial flows, but also of the associated business operations and activities. For example, Russian companies are becoming increasingly present in the international oil and gas sector and China is investing heavily in infrastructure and mining, particularly in Africa.”

The survey noted that international business leaders reported the widespread practice of companies paying bribes to public officials in order to, for example, “win public tenders, avoid regulation, speed up government processes or influence policy.”

The report said companies are almost as likely to pay bribes to other businesses as it looks at business-to-business bribery for the first time. This suggests that corruption is not only a concern for the public sector, but for the business sector as well, carrying major reputational and financial risks for the companies involved.

The 2011 Bribe Payers Index also looked at the likelihood of firms in 19 specific sectors to engage in bribery and exert undue influence on governments

Public works and construction companies, according to the index, scored lowest in the survey.

The report said the oil and gas sector is seen as especially prone to bribery. “The extractives industry has long been prone to corruption risk. Companies operating in oil-rich Nigeria have already been fined upwards of $3.2 billion in 2010-2011 for bribery of public officials.

By Ekow Quandzie

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