Survey shows 'alarming' surge in corruption
A survey of corrupt practices reveals worryingly high levels of fraud and malpractice across key EBRD region countries
A new report suggests worryingly high levels of corruption and malpractice among businesses in emerging European nations.
Ernst & Youngs Europe, Middle East, India and Africa Fraud Survey 2013, released this week, surveyed employees of large companies in 36 countries, some in the developed world, some in emerging markets.
Key findings for countries within the EBRD sphere of operations included:
Slovenia ranked second after Nigeria for prevalence of companies cooking the books reporting financial performance as better than it is with 66% of respondents reporting it happening there. In Russia, Croatia and Serbia more than half of respondents reported the practice, compared with an average of 38% for the survey as a whole.
Asked whether bribery or corrupt practices happened widely in business in their country, a remarkable 96% in Slovenia said yes the highest in the entire survey. Exceptionally high responses also came in Croatia (90%), Slovakia (84%), the Czech Republic (73%), Hungary (70%), Serbia (83%), Ukraine (85%) and Russia (82%), compared with an average of 57% in the survey.
Figures were lower when employees were asked if it was common practice in their own sector to use bribery to win contracts. Russia was the only country in the survey where more than half of respondents (56%) answered yes.
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The survey showed 37% of respondents in Serbia, 28% in Russia and 25% in Croatia said they believed authorities in their country regulated foreign businesses more closely than local ones.
Ernst & Young declined to respond to Emerging Markets written questions about the survey.
However, speaking about the business environment worldwide, David Stulb, global leader for fraud investigation and dispute services, said: The results make for uncomfortable reading. We found that executives and their teams are indeed under increased pressure and it is being felt personally. They are also bleakly realistic about the market challenges they face.
To find growth and improved performance in this environment, an alarming number appear to be comfortable with or aware of unethical conduct, he said, citing recording revenues early, underreporting costs or encouraging customers to buy unnecessary stock.
Of all countries in the survey, Slovenia is likely to be most alarmed by the results: not only an EU state but a eurozone member, apparently showing more widespread corrupt practices than in Kenya or Nigeria, as well as its Balkan peers.
By contrast, in Transparency Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012, Slovenia ranked 37th out of 176 countries, more than 100 places above Kenya.
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