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10 Corruption Hot Spots

10 Corruption Hot Spots

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Corruption is a major issue in both developing and developed nations, with the potential to stunt economic growth and scare away investment. But which major countries are the most corrupt? Transparency International, a global organization that advocates against corruption, comes out with a (CPI) every year. The index ranks 183 countries “according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption.” At the bottom of the most recent list are North Korea and Somalia — both received a score of 1
Source: Transparency International || Photo: Lawrence Lawry | Photodisc | Getty Images

Corruption is a major issue in developing and developed nations, with the potential to stunt economic growth and scare away investment. Which major countries are perceived as the most corrupt?

Transparency International, a global organization that advocates against corruption, comes out with a Corruption Perceptions Index(CPI) every year. The index ranks 183 countries “according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption.” Transparency International has partnered with international organizations in the past, such as the United Nations,to fight corruption around the globe.

At the bottom of the most recent list are North Korea and Somalia — both received a score of 1, on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean).

However, in order to focus on countries that governments and companies are more likely to do business in, we’ve taken Transparency International’s 2011 index and cross-referenced it with the nations in the top 100 when it comes to GDP per capita (according to numbers from the World Bank). The GDP per capita used in our list is derived from purchasing power parity,with GDP amounts in international dollars.

Click ahead to see 10 corruption hot spots among the large economies, all of which scored 2.5 and under on the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index.

By Michelle Fox
Posted 22 February 2012

Lebanon

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CPI Score: 2.5 scoreRanked 134 out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $14,06782 percent of Lebanese people say corruption got worse in the last three years, according to a Transparency International’s The survey also showed that one in three had to pay bribes in order to access public services.Last year, Transparency International’s chapter in Lebanon launched a “wake up to corruption” campaign. The group had already campaigned for access to information, electoral reform, and against bribery in the
Source: Transparency International || Photo: Thomas Grass | Workbook Stock | Getty Images

CPI Score: 2.5 score
Ranked 134 out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $14,067

In Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2010,82 percent of Lebanese people say corruption got worse in the three previous years. The survey also reported that one in three had to pay bribes in order to access public services.

Last year, Transparency International’s chapter in Lebanon launched a “wake up to corruption” campaign. The group had already campaigned for access to information and electoral reform, and against bribery in the health sector.

Azerbaijan

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CPI score: 2.4 scoreRanked 143 out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $9,943The says corruption is pervasive in Azerbaijan. Human rights are widely abused, violence against journalists and demonstrators is not uncommon, and detainees are sometimes tortured, says the State Department.Additionally, 47 percent of people in Azerbaijan paid a bribe to access one of nine public services in the last 12 months, according to a published in January 2010. The institute’s legal advice center in the oil-rich co
Source: U.S. State Dept., Transparency International || Photo: Oliviero Olivieri | Getty Images

CPI score: 2.4 score
Ranked 143 (tie) out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $9,943

The U.S. Department of Statesays corruption is pervasive in Azerbaijan. Human rights are widely abused, violence against journalists and demonstrators is not uncommon, and detainees are sometimes tortured, says the State Department.

Additionally, 47 percent of people in Azerbaijan paid a bribe to access one of nine public services in the previous 12 months, according to a Transparency International surveypublished in January 2010. The institute’s legal advice center in the oil-rich country has also received 30,000 complaints since it opened, with most complaints being about the judicial sector.

Belarus

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CPI score: 2.4 Ranked 143 (tie) out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $13,928Belarus, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, is run by an authoritarian leader, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.  Corruption is “fed by the state’s dominance of the economy and the overall lack of transparency and accountability in government,” according to democracy and human rights group In 2004, President George W. Bush said authorities in Belarus were turning the country into a regime of repressio
Source: Freedom House, U.S. State Dept.|| Photo: De Agostini | Getty Images

CPI score: 2.4
Ranked 143 (tie) out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $13,928

Belarus, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, is run by an authoritarian leader, President Alexander Lukashenko.  Corruption is “fed by the state’s dominance of the economy and the overall lack of transparency and accountability in government,” according to democracy and human rights group Freedom House.

When then-President George W. Bush signed the Belarus Democracy Act in 2004 to promote democracy for the country, he said authorities in Belarus were turning the country into a regime of repression. In 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act, which expanded the Belarus Democracy Act and the 2007 Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act.

Russia

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CPI score: 2.4 Ranked 143 (tie) out of 183 countries GDP per capita: $19,840Of all the companies in industrialized economies, Russian companies are the most likely to pay bribes, according to Transparency International’s of business executives. However, the country just signed an international treaty committing it to prosecute Russian companies that pay bribes. Additionally, the says the country’s judiciary is not independent and is subject to manipulation by political authorities. Human rights
Source: Transparency International, U.S. State Dept. || Photo: Frans Lemmens | Getty Images

CPI score: 2.4
Ranked 143 (tie) out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $19,840

Of all the companies in industrialized economies, Russia's are the most likely to pay bribes, according to Transparency International’s global surveyof business executives. However, the country just signed an international treaty committing it to prosecute Russian companies that pay bribes.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Statesays the country’s judiciary is not independent and is subject to manipulation by political authorities. Human rights observance in Russia is uneven in some areas, the department says.

Ukraine

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CPI score: 2.3  Ranked 152 out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $6,72159 percent of Ukrainians believe the former Soviet republic’s actions in fighting corruption are ineffective, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2010. Additionally, the group’s assessment shows the main political parties in the Ukraine show little political will to tackle corruption. There were concerns about selective prosecution in 2010 and 2011 when charges of abuse of office and/or misuse
Source: Transparency International, U.S. State Dept. || Photo: Bill Bachmann | First Light | Getty Images

CPI score: 2.3 
Ranked 152 out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $6,721

Fifty-nine percent of Ukrainians believe the former Soviet republic’s actions in fighting corruption are ineffective, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2010. Additionally, the group’s 2011 National Integrity Systemassessment shows the main political parties in Ukraine show little political will to tackle corruption.

There were concerns about selective prosecution in 2010 and 2011 when charges of abuse of office and/or misuse of state funds were brought against former Prime Minister Iulia Tymoshenko and some members of her government. However, the Ukrainian government said prosecutors were not targeting the opposition. Tymoshenko was convicted in October on charges of exceeding her powers while in office and was sentenced to seven years. She was also ordered to repay the state $188 million. According to the U.S. Department of Statewebsite, Tymoshenko’s arrest and conviction “drew strong international condemnation.”

Paraguay

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CPI score: 2.2Ranked 154 out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $5,181The current administration of this South American country has pledged to reduce corruption and increase transparency in government. However, Freedom House reports that the judiciary is “highly corrupt.” The organization’s report states that many times, corruption cases go unpunished because judges favor the rich and powerful, and politicians pressure judges and impede investigations. It also says illegal detentions by police, as
Source: Freedom House || Photo: Christopher Pillitz | The Image Bank | Getty Images

CPI score: 2.2
Ranked 154 out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $5,181

The current administration of this South American country has pledged to reduce corruption and increase transparency in government. However, Freedom House reports that the judiciary is “highly corrupt.” The organization’s Freedom in the Worldreport states that many times, corruption cases go unpunished because judges favor the rich and powerful, and politicians pressure judges and impede investigations. It also says illegal detentions by police, as well as inmate torture, still occur.

Angola

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CPI score: 2 Ranked 168 out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $6,120Since March 2011, youth in Angola have been organizing rallies protesting corruption and misrule under President José Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power for 32 years. Oil production, along with its related activities, makes up about 85 percent of the country’s GDP, yet only two of the eight oil and gas companies operating in Angola disclose royalties to governments, according to Transparency International’s report on No for
Source: Transparency International, CIA World Fact Book || Photo: Issouf Sanogo | AFP | Getty Images

CPI score: 2
Ranked 168 out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $6,120

Since March 2011, youth in Angola have been organizing rallies protesting corruption and misrule under President José Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power for 32 years.

Oil production, along with its related activities, makes up about 85 percent of Angola’s GDP, yet only two of the eight oil and gas companies operating there disclose royalties to governments, according to Transparency International’s report on oil and gas transparency.No foreign oil companies released profits made in the country. A representative of Transparency International calls openness about oil revenues “crucial” because Angola expects to produce 2 million barrels of oil a year by 2014 and about two-thirds of its population live on less than $2 a day.

Venezuela

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CPI score: 1.9 Ranked 172 (tie) out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $12,233The government of Venezuela “plays a major role in the economy and has done little to remove vague or excessive regulatory restrictions that increase opportunities for corruption,” according to What anti-corruption efforts there are have generally focused on the government’s political opponents. Freedom House’s “Freedom in the World” report also notes that the military and police are prone to corruption, and few of the of
Source: Freedom House || Photo: Hisham Ibrahim | Getty Images

CPI score: 1.9
Ranked 172 (tie) out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $12,233

The government of Venezuela “plays a major role in the economy and has done little to remove vague or excessive regulatory restrictions that increase opportunities for corruption,” according to Freedom House.What anti-corruption efforts that exist have generally focused on the government’s political opponents. Freedom House’s Freedom in the World report also notes that the military and police are prone to corruption, and few of the officers investigated are convicted.

Additionally, there is strong "anti-media rhetoric” by the government and intimidation of the media, despite the constitutional right of freedom of the press.

Equatorial Guinea

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CPI score: 1.9Ranked 172 (tie) out of 183 countries GDP per capita: $34,732The assets of the ruling family of Equatorial Guinea have been under scrutiny in the U.S., France and Spain. Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in Equatorial Guinea and the president’s son, has used at least five U.S. to amass a fortune that the Justice Department claims was obtained through bribery and corruption. Through his attorneys, Obiang maintains he obtained his assets legally.
Photo: Rodrigo Angue Nguema | AFP | Getty Images

CPI score: 1.9
Ranked 172 (tie) out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $34,732

The assets of the ruling family of Equatorial Guinea have been under scrutiny in the U.S., France and Spain.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the minister of agriculture and forestry and the president’s son, has used at least five U.S. shell companiesto amass a fortune that the Justice Department claims was obtained through bribery and corruption. Through his attorneys, Obiang maintains he obtained his assets legally.

In France, authorities have seized over 11 cars, worth over $6 million, from the Obiang family as part of an investigation into the assets of the ruling families of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo. The case has become known as the “Bien Mal Acquis” case, or the case of “Ill-gotten Gains.” The government of Equatorial Guinea has objected to the asset seizure, calling it “unwarranted” and contrary to international law.

Turkmenistan 

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CPI score: 1.6Ranked 177 out of 183 countriesGDP per capita: $8,274Of the nations in top 100 GDP per capita, Turkmenistan ranks the worst in Transparency’s Corruption Perception Index. The country also placed rock bottom in Revenue Watch’s and Transparency International’s which measured the level of transparency of government in 41 resource-rich countries, as well as the laws governing gas, oil and mining companies. Turkmenistan broke from the U.S.S.R. in 1991 and held its first multi-candidate
Source: Transparency International, CIA World Fact Book, Associated Press || Photo: Vyacheslav Oseledko | AFP | Getty Images

CPI score: 1.6
Ranked 177 out of 183 countries
GDP per capita: $8,274

Of the nations in the top 100 GDP per capita, Turkmenistan ranks the worst in Transparency’s Corruption Perception Index. The country also placed rock bottom in a 2010 joint surveyby Revenue Watch and Transparency International measuring the level of government openness in 41 resource-rich countries, as well as the laws governing gas, oil and mining companies.

Turkmenistan broke from the U.S.S.R. in 1991 and held its first multicandidate election for president in 2007 after the death of its president for life. Its current president won a new five-year term in February 2012, but a Western expert called the vote a sham. Annette Bohr, with the London-based Chatham House institute, told The Associated Press the election was a “typical faux democracy.”

Filthy Rich

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White tigers, private jets, multi-million dollar mansions in the most luxurious spots on earth — all paid for with money that critics say was stolen by the ruling families of oil-rich nations.CNBC follows the trail of international corruption and money laundering to a shocking tax haven ... the United States.• • • "Filthy Rich" premieres Thursday, February 23 at 9 p.m. ET, with re-airs at 10 p.m., 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

White tigers, private jets, multimillion dollar mansions in the most luxurious spots on Earth — all paid for with money that critics say was stolen by the ruling families of oil-rich nations.

CNBC follows the trail of international corruption and money laundering to a shocking tax haven ... the United States.

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