Corruption Perceptions Index
Earlier this month, Transparency International (“TI”) released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (“CPI”) (see here). The CPI ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be and is a composite index drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions and reflecting the views of observers from around the world including experts living and working in the countries/territories evaluated. The CPI scored 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption.
In a release (here), TI noted that “corruption continues to plague too many countries around the world” and that two-thirds of ranked countries scored less than 5. The top five (very clean) countries in the CPI were New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Singapore, the bottom four (highly corrupt) countries were Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia and North Korea.
The United States scored 7.1 in the CPI (the same score the U.S. received in the 2010 CPI – see here for the prior post) a number which placed it 24th out of 183 countries and below several other countries such as Canada, Germany, Japan, and the U.K.
The relative low ranking of the U.S. has again caused some (see here) to ask “can or should the U.S. continue to lead the fight against international graft?” Related to this topic, for some time I have been highlighting a double-standard between U.S. enforcement of the FCPA and U.S. enforcement of the domestic bribery statute (18 USC 201). See here for prior posts on the double standard. It is concerning that corporate interaction with a “foreign official” appears to be subject to greater scrutiny and different standards of enforcement than corporate interaction with a U.S. official.
While the CPI may just seem like a bunch of numbers, and while it is not the only risk assessment tool (see here and here) available, the index has real-world application as many companies and FCPA compliance professionals calibrate FCPA risk assessment to the CPI.
BRIBEline U.S. Report
Also earlier this month, Trace International released (see here) its BRIBEline U.S. Report which summarizes and analyzes 73 bribery demands in the U.S. reported anonymously to Trace’s online Business Registry for International Bribery and Extortion (BRIBEline – see here) between July 2007 and November 2011.
According to the report: “the majority of bribe demands, nearly 60%, are made by a person associated with a government, whether at the federal, state or local level, including government officials (16%), the police (14%), officials of the party in office (8%), employees of state-owned entities (7%), members of the military (5%), city officials (4%), state officials (1%) and judges and judicial representatives (1%).” The report also found that “seven of the bribes demanded by government officials were reported as originating from the Office of the U.S. President or the Office of the U.S. Vice President.” According to the anonymous bribe reporters, demands from these offices occurred between 2002 and 2007.
Most companies spend considerable time and money training employees and associated parties on foreign bribery issues, but Alexandra Wrage (TRACE President) said that “the U.S. BRIBEline data indicates that companies doing business in the United States should consider training their employees to appropriately respond to a bribe demand made by a powerful government official or business executive.”
Previous BRIBEline reports (see here) analyzed patterns of bribe demands in Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, Russia, India and China.