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Swiss praised in fight against corruption

Transparency International – a non-governmental organisation that fights corruption – has given Switzerland high marks in its 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The Swiss come in fifth position, the same as last year, with a score of nine out of ten points in an index reflecting political stability, regulations governing conflicts of interest and “solid, functioning public institutions”.

The highest scorers ahead of Switzerland were New Zealand, Denmark, Singapore and Sweden.

However, Transparency’s report called for the end of banking secrecy with more bilateral treaties on information exchange.

“Corrupt money must not find safe haven. It is time to put an end to excuses,” commented Huguette Labelle, the chairwoman of the organisation.

The report, published on Tuesday, said that the majority of the 180 countries included in the index scored below five on the scale from zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to ten (perceived to have low levels of corruption).

It added that industrial countries should not be complacent because the “supply of bribery and facilitation of corruption often involve businesses based in their countries”.

Unstable states wrestling with wars or conflicts linger at the bottom of the index. They include Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan and Iraq.

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