Switzerland one of world’s least corrupt countries despite recent scandals

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Switzerland one of world’s least corrupt countries despite recent scandals
The Swiss parliament in Bern, File photo: AFP

Switzerland has been named the third least corrupt country in the world in a key annual ranking.


The Alpine nation came in equal third place behind Denmark and New Zealand in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2018 which was released by Transparency International on Tuesday.

The index, which is based on 13 transparency rankings, ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.

It uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Switzerland scored 85, as did Singapore and Sweden.Rounding out the top ten were Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and Luxembourg.

Transparency International noted that countries near the top of the perceptions ranking had common democratic attributes such as strong institutions, rule of law and high levels of economic development.

Problems at the top

But the organization warned that even countries that achieved high scores in the CPI were not corruption free.

It noted that the index doesn’t look at money laundering and highlighted the fact that Swiss banks are regularly linked to money-laundering and corruption schemes including the massive 1MDB scandal in Malaysia and the Petrobras and Odebrecht schemes in South America.

‘Switzerland needs to take action’

In a statement released on Tuesday, Transparency International Switzerland said it was precisely in the private sector that the country had a problem with corruption.

“The regular good results obtained by Switzerland in the CPI shouldn’t deflect from the fact that we also urgently need to take action,” said Martin Hilti, director of Transparency International.

“Switzerland has serious deficiencies when it comes to the fight against money laundering, the protection of whistleblowers or corruption in the private sector and sport,” he added.

Transparency International Switzerland also noted the 2018 CPI was based on 2017 events and did not take into account “controversial overseas trips by officials” – a thinly-veiled reference to scandal-hit Geneva politician Pierre Maudet – or “excessive expenses”, which could refer to the controversy surrounding the expenses of other Geneva officials.

Last year, Switzerland was also rocked by news that Switzerland’s PostBus, a subsidiary of the 100 percent-government/owned Swiss Post, had illegally harvested millions of francs in subsidies by diverting profits from its subsidized regional transport business into other profit-making parts of the business.

The country was also taken to task year by Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group (GRECO) for failing to make progress in implementing its recommendations on the transparency of political funding.

In August, the Swiss government refused to back a popular initiative calling for political parties to provide details on large donors arguing the initiative was unnecessary and “hardly compatible with the Swiss system”.

Read also: Scandal-hit Geneva politician wins backing of local party


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