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Switzerland among least corrupt countries

Parliament: the continued opaque funding of political parties remains a cause of concern Keystone

Switzerland has maintained its high ethical standards – in the public sector at least – by being named as one of the least corrupt countries in the world in an annual survey by Transparency International.

Despite dropping one place in the Corruptions Perceptions Index, Swiss public officials are still the seventh least likely to take bribes, abuse their power or engage in other underhand business. 

The findings come as a welcome tonic for the Alpine state that has become increasingly embroiled in a long-running international row over tax evasion abuses in the corporate sector.

Despite making several concessions to global pressure, Switzerland was taken to task last month by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for moving too slowly on improving tax transparency.

But a group of experts, commissioned by NGO Transparency International, found little to gripe about Switzerland’s public sector. The corruption survey, released on Tuesday, gave Switzerland a score of 85 out of 100 in terms of clean practices (100 signifying a complete absence of corruption).

Not perfect

Switzerland could still work harder to provide effective measures to protect genuine whistleblowers from reprisals, the NGO’s Swiss chapter said in a media statement. And the continued opaque funding of political parties remained a cause of some concern.

“Progress is very slow whilst public debate on these themes remains very much in its infancy,” Transparency International stated.

Switzerland also needs to pay particular attention to the grey area of the giving and receiving of “gifts” in both the public and private sector, the NGO noted.

Denmark and New Zealand were given joint top marks of 91 in the survey of 175 countries. Somalia and North Korea propped up the list with a mere eight points, marking them out as the most corrupt countries in the survey.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR