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Trouble in the top too

The corruption index shows that robust democratic institutions limit the level of corruption in the public sector.


Several disclosures in recent years have shown us that companies in countries that rank high on the international corruption index unfortunately facilitate corruption in countries that are ranked lower.

Transparency International's annual corruption index ranks 180 countries by the level of perceived corruption in the public sector. The index is based on a number of independent data sources, and based on these sources, a score is calculated for each country where 0 points are the worst and 100 is the best (least corruption).

Denmark on top

This year's index is peaked by Denmark (88 points) followed by New Zealand (87 points), and with Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland in a shared third place (85 points). Norway is in seventh place (84 points) and has dropped one point from last year. At the bottom of the index we find Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and North Korea.

If countries like Norway make a difference, a good start can be that the Oil Fund withdraws from Credit Suisse.

It may seem like a paradox that Denmark once again tops the index after the Danske Bank branch in Estonia was revealed for extensive money laundering where as much as 200 billion euros, most of them "suspicious", went through the branch in the period from 2007 to 2015. The money originated mainly from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova and had a devastating effect all the way into the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), where the investigation showed, among other things, that parliamentarians had been bribed to vote against a critical report on widespread human rights violations in Azerbaijan.

oil Fund

As for Switzerland, the country has "always" had a well-developed banking secrecy that has made it possible to facilitate tax evasion and money laundering. Last in the series of disclosures are the billion loans to Mozambique that employees of Credit Suisse were behind. The loans have put Mozambique in a serious economic crisis and also have a link to Norway, as the Oil Fund is the second largest owner of the financial group.

Previously known cases involve Swedish Telia and partly Telenor-owned Vimpelcom, which has now paid record high fines in connection with bribes paid to the president's daughter in Uzbekistan to secure the companies contracts in the country.

These few examples put the corruption index in a slightly different light. Countries that themselves have well-developed systems for avoiding corruption in their own public sector are at the same time the home country for businesses that facilitate or contribute to corruption in more vulnerable countries. In practice, this helps to reinforce the corruption problems. Multinational companies and the financial sector are in a special position – but are also the sectors that really are may not be og should Make a difference. A good start could be that the Oil Fund withdraws from Credit Suisse.


Guro Sletemark
Guro Slettemark
Head of Transparency Norway.

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