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Corruption “huge” issue for firms

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The study by security firm Control Risks spoke to 350 executives in seven economies - the US, UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Brazil. It found that businesses in Hong Kong were the most affected by corruption, with UK firms experiencing the least. Among all the firms questioned, 42% see corruption levels staying the same, 32% expect a rise, and 23% predict a fall. “Honest companies are still losing out to dishonest competitors on a large scale” concludes John Bray, author at BBC News. In Hong Kong, two thirds of companies believed they had failed to win a contract over the past 12 months because a competitor had paid a bribe, rising to 76% over the past five years. Brazil was the next worse affected, on 42% for the past year, and 38% since 2001. The UK was the least hit, with 22% of firms saying they lost out on a deal in the past year because of corruption rising to 26% over the past five years.

The sectors of the economy most vulnerable to corruption globally are the oil, gas, mining and construction industries, because of the high value of the projects, the study says. It added that one in ten business leaders estimated believed bribes paid could sometimes amount to almost half the total cost of a deal. More than one in three, meanwhile, said they would be put off from investing in a country that had a bad reputation for corruption. “Corruption continues to be a huge international issue and honest companies are still losing out to dishonest competitors on a large scale,” said the report's author John Bray, a consultant at Control Risks. “It is clear there is still a long way to go before corruption becomes a thing of the past,” Control Risks conducted the survey in association with solicitors Simmons & Simmons. (BBC News)

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