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Switzerland slips in transparency ratings

Switzerland has lost a few points in the 2010 international rating of the world’s least-corrupt countries, but is still ranked eighth, tying with Australia.

In the index drawn up by the organisation Transparency International and published on Tuesday, Switzerland was awarded 8.7 points, its lowest score since 2003. Last year it had nine.

One reason for its poorer showing was its lack of regulations governing the way political parties are financed.

The organisation’s local section, Transparency International Switzerland, says no major cases of corruption were found, but it pointed to the revelation in May 2009 that the UBS bank had made a donation of SFr150,000 ($154,000) to the centre-right Christian Democratic Party, shortly after the government had provided the bank with a bailout of several billion francs.

The organisation says Switzerland is the only democratic country not to regulate party funding.

Transparency International analysed corruption in the public sector in 178 countries between January 2009 and September 2010. Its points system goes from ten (practically no corruption) to zero (very corrupt).

The top three countries, tying with 9.3 points, were Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore. Somalia ranked the bottom, with 1.1, slightly worse than Burma and Afghanistan which each had 1.4. Britain came 20th with 7.6 and the United States 22nd with 7.1. Three quarters of the countries investigated scored less than five.

Transparency International, founded in 1993, is a global organisation dedicated to fighting corruption worldwide. It has more than 90 national sections. and agencies

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