Rises and falls in global corruption

United States has dropped out of the “top 20” in a global league
table of least corrupt nations, tarnished by financial scandals and the
influence of money in politics, according to Transparency International.

was judged the most corrupt country, followed by Myanmar and Afghanistan
at joint second-worst and then by Iraq, in the Berlin-based watchdog TI’s
annual corruption perceptions index (CPI: 25.55, 0.00, 0.00%).

United States fell to 22nd from 19th last year, with its CPI score dropping to
7.1 from 7.5 in the 178-nation index, which is based on independent surveys on

was the lowest score awarded to the United States in the index’s 15-year
history and also the first time it had fallen out of the top 20.

the Americas, this put the United States behind Canada in sixth place, Barbados
at 17th and Chile in 21st place.

heading the index — in which a score of 10 indicates a country with the highest
standards, and 0 as highly corrupt — were Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore
with 9.3.

were also at the top of the table last year. Somalia scored 1.1.

watchdog group said its table was based on “different assessments and
business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable
institutions.” U.S.

Boswell, president of TI in the United States, said lending practices in the
subprime crisis, the disclosure of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and rows over
political funding had all rattled public faith about prevailing ethics in

index showed a number of countries — including Iran — climbing up the chart
significantly from 2009, though TI said this could often be ascribed to the
fact that different surveys were being used that offered no direct comparison to
last year.

fact that nearly three quarters of the countries scored 5.0 or less showed
corruption was still a major global problem, said Robin Hodess, director of
policy and research at TI.

the watchdog identified Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti,
Jamaica, Kuwait, and Qatar as states where improvement had been made over the
past year.

contrast, it highlighted the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy,
Madagascar, Niger and the United States as nations where perceptions had deteriorated.