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Corruption Perceptions Index - Part I - The Good

Dirty money changing hands, Bribery, Corruption
The power of the Grabbing Hand.
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CPI - Part II - The Bad CPI - Part III - The Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Petty corruption

Petty corruption often occurs in private transactions or in public services where officials come into contact with the public, such as in registration offices, police departments, hospitals, state licensing boards, and many other private institutions and lower levels of government.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2020 - Part I (The Good)

Annotated list of countries sorted in descending order by their perception of corruption, published each year by Transparency International.

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.

Worldmap of Countries by Corruption Perceptions Index score
Countries by Corruption Perceptions Index score
Map: A3hxK81s7z

Grand corruption

Grand corruption is defined as corruption that occurs at the highest levels of government in a manner that requires significant subversion of the political, legal, and economic systems.


The lexicon defines corruption as dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
Violations of the common good for personal gain are corrupt.

The forms of corruption are manifold and manifest themselves in lobbying, extortion, nepotism, influence peddling, bribery and embezzlement, and sexual exploitation, to name a few.

Other forms of corruption are known as State capture, Parochialism, Rent-Seeking, Political Patronage and Neopatrimonialism.

The challenge of corruption is no less dangerous than terrorism.
Barham Salih, President of Iraq

Below is the list of countries that scored at least 50 in the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, the countries that are considered the least corrupt nations.
No Flag Score Country Rank
88 Denmark 1
Note: Denmark, the small constitutional monarchy in northwestern Europe, is located on the Jutland peninsula and many islands between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Denmark is the highest-rated country in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). But, the country's anti-bribery laws have significant limitations. The Danske Bank scandal highlighted how weak supervision in the financial sector allowed millions in suspicious funds to enter the European Union (EU). [TI] [REUTERS]
88 New Zealand 1
Note: The island country in the South Pacific Ocean is located about 2,170 km (1,350 mi; Auckland - Sydney) east of Australia.

New Zealand is the highest-ranked Australasian country in the CPI. A longtime leader on the CPI despite some doubts about transparency standards. [TI]
85 Finland 3
Note: The country on the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Russia ranks at the top of the Human Development Index and is also the happiest country in the world.

Gaps in the country's anti-money laundering supervisory framework could make Finland, along with other Nordic countries, very attractive to corrupt individuals and money launderers. [TI]
85 Singapore 3
Note: Singapore is an island and a city-state just south of the Malay Peninsula.

It is the highest-scoring Asian country in the Corruption Perceptions Index. Still, the high level of secrecy in the corporate and financial sectors, combined with weak financial oversight, makes it a very attractive place to park dirty money. [TI] Singapore's Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act provides an alarming amount of power to any government minister to remove or restrict access to content they deem false or misleading, with limited oversight and transparency. Those in violation of the law face harsh criminal penalties. Singapore has been lauded for its lack of bribery and corruption. However, its corporatist economic structure entails close collaboration between the public and private sectors that may produce conflicts of interest. Singapore is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide. [FH] [FH]
85 Sweden 3
Note: Sweden is a Nordic country and a constitutional monarchy located between Norway and Finland.

Sweden's weak anti-money laundering regulatory framework means that the country could serve as a gateway for dirty money into the EU. [TI]
85 Switzerland 3
Note: This small, mountainous landlocked country in central Europe between Germany and Italy is known for its armed neutrality and banking secrecy.

The country falls short of international minimal standards to prevent money laundering. [TI]
84 Norway 7
Note: Norway is yet another Scandinavian country entangled in an international money laundering scandal. Similar to its neighbors, weak anti-money laundering supervision is a major issue. [TI]
82 Netherlands 8
Note: The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy on the North Sea in Western Europe.

The country still has much work to comply with the new EU Directive for Whistleblower Protection and advance anti-corruption efforts. [TI]
80 Germany 9
Note: Concerns about opaque links between German lawmakers and lobbyists reached new heights last summer when Germany took over the EU presidency. Although the introduction of a new lobby register would shed more light on the links between politicians and business interests, so far, the register is all talk and no disclosure. [TI] Beneath the shiny surface of Germany, a number of dirty deals are being made by leading German companies. Germany's big car manufacturers were involved in the Dieselgate scandal. From 2006 to 2014, German car manufacturing giants Volkswagen/Audi, Daimler and BMW illegally colluded to hinder competition on emission cleaning technology. [DW] And the FinCEN files revealed that Deutsche Bank was responsible for $1.3 trillion worth of suspicious transactions, even after hundreds of millions in fines for violating US sanctions. Germany's largest bank was involved in mirror transactions to facilitate money laundering for organized crime, terrorists and drug traffickers. [1] [1] The Cum-Ex scandal (German Dividend Tax Scandal) allegedly started in 2001 and was first discovered in Germany in 2012. It has been estimated that the total costs to European taxpayers of the cum-ex and cum-cum schemes amount to more than €55bn (between 2001 and 2012).
[EU Parliament] [OCCRP] [The Guardian]
80 Luxembourg 9
Note: The small country in Western Europe, between Belgium and Germany, has 634,700 inhabitants with a high percentage of people with a foreign background.

The LuxLeaks revelations of 2014 exposed secret tax structures and prompted the adoption of an EU Directive for Whistleblower Protection, which has yet to be transposed in many EU member states. [TI]
77 Australia 11
Note: Australia faces several corruption challenges, including anonymous company ownership and money laundering. The FinCEN files exposed a vast paper trail of money laundering across the globe, more than US$150 million were traced back to Australian banks. [TI] It was not until December 2017 that Australia reported its first successful prosecution for foreign bribery. [OECD]
77 Canada 11
Note: North American country with the highest ranking. Nevertheless, there are significant challenges in Canada as well. Anti-money laundering regulations do not cover all professions and professionals, including real estate agents and lawyers, are not required to identify beneficial owners when conducting due diligence. In addition, the country has no central register of beneficial ownership information of companies.

With a score of 77, Canada dropped four points since last year and, more significantly, seven points since 2012. In recent years, Canada's money laundering problem, or "snow-washing," came into the spotlight. E-Pirate, a 2019 case involving a shell company that laundered hundreds of millions of dollars from China, is a good example of the challenges of hiding the true owner of a company from the public eye. [TI]
77 Hong Kong 11
Note: The former British dependency is since 1997 a special administrative region of China (SAR).

The country's legal and enforcement systems continue to hamper efforts to combat foreign bribery, where companies or foreign officials can only be prosecuted if the exchange takes place in Hong Kong. In addition, Hong Kong promotes a business environment where shell companies and corruption can flourish. [TI]
77 United Kingdom 11
Note: How do the corrupt enjoy their illicit gains without getting caught? By buying luxury property in the world's most sought-after cities, such as London. While the UK is the first G20 country to introduce a public register of beneficial ownership, a loophole in the law allows foreign companies to acquire property anonymously. [TI]
76 Austria 15
Note: Austria is a mountainous landlocked Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe.

Austria's banking secrecy, a never-ending story. As a recent example, Commerzialbank Mattersburg (CMB) claimed false profits and reserve funds, with the bank's founder and longtime CEO suspected of having falsified the books over a period of ten years and for a total of approximately 528 million euros. The case reflects weaknesses in Austrian banking supervision and an almost non-existent whistleblowing system. [TI]
76 Belgium 15
Note: Belgium is a country in Western Europe bordering the North Sea and the English Channel; it is one of the three Benelux countries. Its capital is Brussels, where the seat of the European Commission is located.

There is little to no enforcement against foreign bribery in Belgium due to a significant lack of resources. Semlex, the Belgian-based passport company with frequent business in Africa, is currently embroiled in a corruption scandal where it negotiated lucrative deals for expensive passports after bribing government officials. [TI]
75 Estonia 17
Note: The Baltic country on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland has been praised widely for its strong integrity and transparency, but all is not perfect in Tallinn.

The Estonian branch of Danske Bank was involved in a money-laundering scandal worth billions. Thanks to weak financial supervision, Danske Bank Estonia features in cross-border grand corruption cases like the Azerbaijani Laundromat affair, involving top political elites. [TI] [REUTERS]
75 Iceland 17
Note: The island nation in the North Atlantic is known as the "Land of Fire" due to its volcanic activity with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and geysers.

In the CPI it is the lowest ranked Nordic country. In contrast to its high CPI score, Iceland and its reputation as a corruption-free country took a nosedive when revelations came to light that implicated the country's ruling elite and its national corporations. For example, the 2008 financial crisis exposed shady banks, the Panama Papers implicated the country's former prime minister, and the Fishrot Files revealed the lengths to which the country's largest fishery would go to expand its business and launder suspicious proceeds. [TI]
74 Japan 19
Note: Highest-ranked Asian country.

Corruption scandals have marred former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's political record and may contribute to citizens' low opinion of their government's ability to tackle corruption. 76% of the Japanese population think the government's performance is poor. In addition, a 2018 report found that Japan has weak rules on company ownership, and unfortunately, not much has changed since. Japan's track record in combatting foreign bribery is also extremely poor. [TI]
72 Ireland 20
Note: The Republic of Ireland occupies about four-fifths of Ireland, the island west of Great Britain.

Ireland is in the top 20 of the "Corruption free countries", but proposed legislation to improve ethics in public office was abandoned in 2020 despite recommendations from a corruption tribunal in 2012. Similarly, Ireland has been criticized for not prosecuting foreign bribery cases and not providing its law enforcement agencies with the necessary powers and resources to investigate and prosecute domestic corruption cases. [TI]
71 United Arab Emirates 21
Note: The United Arab Emirates is an independent desert country on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf. It is known for its two largest cities, Abu Dhabi, the capital city and Dubai, home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

The UAE is the highest-ranked Middle East country and the highest-rated Muslim monarchy. The Emirates has been heavily criticized by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for its inadequate anti-money laundering framework. The country's chaotic approach to company registration makes it incredibly difficult for law enforcement to figure out who is behind a suspicious company when thirty-nine different registries operate across the seven emirates. [TI]
71 Uruguay 21
Note: Highest ranked Latin American country. The country on the Atlantic coast of South America, south of Brazil, has long been known as a hub for money laundering in Latin America.

Uruguay has been working since 2018 to change its reputation as a haven for dirty money by taking additional steps to fight corruption. However, the recent Chavismo Inc. investigation revealed corruption links between the Venezuelan government and private banks and political elites in Uruguay, with alleged evidence of suspicious bank transactions related to money laundering. [TI]
69 France 23
Note: In France, French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced to three years in jail, two of them suspended, for corruption and influence peddling. Although Sarkozy is the first French president to stand trial for corruption, the case is not an outlier in French politics.

From the almost-forgotten sinking of the Green Peace ship Rainbow Warrior by the French, or the Karachi affair, which was linked to both a suicide bombing that killed 11 people and a misappropriation of arms sales involving French Prime Minister Édouard Balladur (now acquitted), to a 2007 campaign finance investigation that revealed links to former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, France is rife with corruption scandals linking high-level politics, campaign finance, and human rights abuses.
In fact, many assets linked to corrupt individuals often end up in France. [TI]
68 Bhutan 24
Note: Highest-ranked South Asian country. Bhutan is a mountainous Buddhist kingdom in the eastern Himalayas, north of the Indian state of Assam.

A 2017 report found that Bhutan's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACA) has made positive progress and is the second-best performing of the six ACAs included in the study. However, the anti-corruption agency scores poorly on accountability and oversight compared to other countries in the region. [TI]
67 Chile 25
Note: Chile occupies a long narrow coastal strip on the west coast of South America.

The country has stepped up its anti-corruption efforts in recent years but still isn't doing enough to foreign bribery or transparency in economic ownership. In 2019, more than one million Chileans took to the streets to express their anger over inequalities in the country. Trust in political institutions was tested by a series of corruption and tax evasion scandals, leading to a referendum in October 2020 in which an overwhelming majority voted to rewrite the country's constitution. [TI]
67 United States of America 25
Note: With a score of 67, the U.S. has reached its lowest score on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) since 2012. The United States ranks second on the Financial Secrecy Index, between the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, and accounts for more than 20% of the global market for offshore financial services. The FinCEN files also revealed that $1 trillion in suspicious funds were laundered through U.S. banks, revealing significant gaps in U.S. anti-money laundering regulations. Companies paid a record $2.9 billion to resolve allegations of bribery of foreign officials. [TI]
66 Seychelles 27
Note: Highest-ranked African country. Seychelles is a group of islands located northeast of Madagascar. The islands are a popular tourist destination.

However, the large majority of the offshore system remains firmly in the western orbit – notably Britain's. Smaller havens such as Seychelles are crucial links in these chains of secrecy and in the wider offshore money maze. A number of names of Seychelles-based companies appear in well-known whistleblower leaks such as the Bahamas Leaks, the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks, and the Paradise Papers - Appleby. [Tax Justice Network]
65 Taiwan 28
Note: Taiwan, or formally the Republic of China (ROC), is an island country off the southeast coast of China.

Taiwan ranked quite well in the CPI. However, issues such as close links between business and politics, insufficient legal frameworks and anti-corruption legislation, the public's high tolerance for corrupt practices, and lack of education to increase the understanding of bribery still need to be addressed. [Taiwan Insight]
64 Barbados 29
Note: The former British colony (until 1966) is the highest-ranked Caribbean country and the "least corrupt" Caribbean offshore tax haven.

In sharp contrast to most of the others (Caribbean countries), Barbados has developed a niche as an ethical low-tax destination—a "clean" haven, one that opens its books and exchanges information with other countries. In Barbados, taxes range from 1 to 2.5 percent. In some circumstances, companies located in Barbados are entirely exempt from taxes. [World Politics Review]
63 Bahamas 30
Note: The Bahamas, an archipelago off the southeastern coast of Florida, is a popular tourist destination.

In the second-best rated Caribbean country, 45% of its population still believes that corruption has increased in the last 12 months, and 80% of Bahamians consider corruption in government a major problem. [TI]

The Bahamas is a stable democracy where political rights and civil liberties are generally respected. However, the islands have a relatively high murder rate. Harsh immigration policies, primarily affecting Haitian-Bahamians and Haitian migrants, are often implemented without due process. Government corruption is a serious problem that is believed to have significant economic consequences. [FH]
63 Qatar 30
Note: The sheikdom, which occupies a peninsula on the west coast of the Persian Gulf, is among the highest-income countries in the world and has the world's third-largest natural gas and oil reserves.

Corruption in Qatar is relatively low; however, patronage networks and clientelism are institutionalized, particularly in public procurement. The use of influential middlemen – known as 'wasta' and gift-giving play a major role in the business culture of Qatar. [R&C] Qatar's bid to host the World Cup in 2022 has been marred in controversy since the start. The country was suspected of buying votes to win the rights to host the 2022 World Cup. US Department of Justice stated that representatives working for Qatar had bribed FIFA officials to secure hosting rights for the World Cup in men's soccer. [New York Times]

Without the two million migrant workers, the 2022 World Cup simply would not be possible in Qatar. In the decade since Qatar was awarded the right to host the World Cup, exploitation and abuse of these workers has been rampant, with workers exposed to forced labor, unpaid wages and excessive working hours. [Amnesty International]
62 Spain 32
Note: Spain's attempts to limit corruption have intensified, following a string of corruption cases, such as the "Gürtel case" (Caso Gürtel), particularly involving politicians. Nevertheless, the Council of Europe's anti-corruption group has repeatedly criticized Spain for its lack of integrity measures in government institutions. [R&C]
61 South Korea 33
Note: Corruption is a persistent problem in South Korea, with scandals implicating successive governments and executives from the country's largest companies in recent years.
Corruption scandals involving chaebol bribery have affected almost all of South Korea's former presidents. President Moon came to power promising to reform these large firms, but instead he came to rely on the chaebol to bolster the country's domestic supply chains as it grappled with the continued economic consequences of a trade war with Japan and COVID-19. [FH]
61 Portugal 33
Note: The country ranks 33rd out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, down four places since 2017.

Despite Portugal's score of 61, a report by Transparency International revealed that political parties, the parliament, the judiciary and the military are the most corrupt institutions in Portugal. 90% of the population think corruption is widespread. [EU Anti-Corruption Report]
60 Botswana 35
Note: Botswana is the highest ranked sub-Saharan African country, a landlocked nation in southern Africa. Botswana's landscape is dominated by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta, a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana.

While it is considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa, Botswana has been dominated by a single party since independence (from the UK in 1966). Media freedom remains under threat. The indigenous San people, as well as migrants, refugees, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people, face discrimination. [FH]
60 Brunei 35
Note: Brunei is a small oil-rich sultanate on the northwestern coast of Borneo and one of the last autocracies in the world.

The sultan, one of the richest people in the world who lives in a palace with 1,788 rooms, exercises almost absolute power. Islam is the state religion. Despite widespread criticism, Brunei enacted a strict new penal code in 2019 that includes death by stoning for adultery and homosexual sex and amputation as punishment for theft. [Al Jazeera]
60 Israel 35
Note: Israel is a country in the Middle East bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The Jewish state is falling closer to the 'red line' below which countries are considered to have a high level of corruption. In 2019 Israel saw a serving prime minister charged for the first time with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Benjamin Netanyahu has denied the charges and is currently in the midst of repeated efforts to delay the court hearings. [The Times of Israel]
60 Lithuania 35
Note: Lithuania, one of the Baltic States, is a country on the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea.

Lithuania is a democracy in which political rights and civil liberties are generally respected. However, corruption and income inequality are issues that often arouse public dissatisfaction with the government. [FH]
60 Slovenia 35
Note: Slovenia is a small, mountainous country on the Gulf of Trieste (Adriatic Sea) north of Greece; it used to be part of Yugoslavia.

Long regarded as one of the best-performing new EU members, Slovenia was dragged into a deep recession by the European financial crisis in 2012. This prompted mass protests at corruption and economic mismanagement by successive governments. [BBC] Today, Slovenia is run by populist Janez Janša and his anti-immigration party SDS. In May 2021, Janša refused to acknowledge his country's two candidates for the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) — an organization designed to uncover and prosecute misuse of EU funds. For weeks, Janša delayed appointing the candidates - and then he stopped the process altogether. Without local prosecutors in Slovenia, the EPPO will have a hard time investigating and bringing charges in the country. [Politico]
59 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 40
Note: The small Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy that holds regular elections, though aspects of the most recent legislative polls have been disputed in court by the opposition. While civil liberties are generally upheld, journalists face the possibility of criminal defamation charges, and same-sex sexual conduct remains illegal. Violent crime is a growing problem, as is corruption in elections. [FH] In Saint Vincent, many voters are more than willing to accept bribes to vote in favor of the Unity Labour Party. [The New Today]
58 Cabo Verde 41
Note: Cape Verde or Cabo Verde is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Senegal,

Cabo Verde has a lower-middle-income economy and is the second-least corrupt African nation.

Despite a few corruption scandals involving current and former government officials, the country has consistently ranked in the CPI among the 50 least corrupt countries in the world. However, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey, a majority of Cabo Verdeans want more government action against corruption. Citizens who see corruption in the country as increasing still outnumber those who see it as decreasing, and the perception that most police officials are corrupt actually increased slightly. A majority of citizens fear retaliation if they report incidents of bribery to the authorities. [Afrobarometer]
57 Costa Rica 42
Note: Costa Rica is a tropical, largely mountainous country on the Isthmus of Panama in Central America with coastlines on the Pacific and Caribbean Seas.

Costa Rica is the highest-rated Central American country in the CPI. Yet Costa Rican headlines constantly announce the latest official caught taking bribes for everything from car safety inspections to construction contracts. [Costa Rica Guide] 49% of Costa Ricans think corruption increased in the previous 12 months; 7% paid a bribe for public services in the previous 12 months; 18% experience sextortion or know someone who has; 17% were offered bribes in exchange for votes. [TI]
57 Cyprus 42
Note: Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The northern third of Cyprus is occupied by Turkey since 1974.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus has announced that it will abolish its controversial citizenship-for-cash scheme, which gave visa-free travel throughout the European Union. The decision follows multiple scandals and controversies, the most recent of which appear in a covertly filmed documentary by Al Jazeera that implicates high-level politicians in corruption related to the scheme. [TI] Cyprus's subsequent anti-corruption legislation, however, appears flimsy to many Cypriots. "Many of the measures announced by the government sound good in theory; to an uninformed outside observer, they may appear like a good road map, but it is a bit of an oxymoron to have an anti-corruption campaign being launched by a government that has been in power for eight years and is accused – with good reason – of corruption at the highest level." [OCCRP]
57 Latvia 42
Note: Latvia, one of the three Baltic states, has been scarred by a series of money laundering and corruption scandals, including the closing of one of its largest banks (ABLV banking group) for money laundering and the detention of its central bank governor for alleged bribery. Latvia is struggling to deal with the fallout from the corruption scandal. But efforts to clean up the country's reputation are moving slowly. [REUTERS]
56 Georgia 45
Note: The South Caucasian country in Russia's backyard has been struggling with democracy since independence from the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the USSR, Georgia went from one of the world's most corrupt countries to a flickering beacon of democracy and a poster child for reform.
Russia showed its gratitude in 2008 by invading and occupying two sovereign regions of Georgia, the Black Sea coastal region of Abkhazia and the central Georgian region of South Ossetia. And, Russia has continued to occupy more and more of Georgia's territory, especially in the South Ossetia region, since its initial invasion. [Embassy of Georgia to the US] Politics in Georgia has been strongly influenced by the Georgian Dream party of Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire businessman and politician with close ties to Russia, not just since Georgia's 2020 parliamentary election. [TI]
56 Poland 45
Note: Poland is a predominantly Catholic country in Central Europe with a coastline on the Baltic Sea. Poland was formerly one of the eight-member countries of the Warsaw Pact.

With a score of 56, Poland declines significantly in the CPI, dropping seven points since 2015. The country's ruling party has consistently promoted reforms that weaken judicial independence. The steady erosion of the rule of law and democratic oversight has created conditions for corruption to flourish at the highest levels of power.
During COVID-19, the national legislature amended and repealed hundreds of laws, using the crisis as cover to push through dangerous legislation. Parliament also limited access to information for citizens and journalists and allowed opaque public spending related to COVID-19.

An attempt to secure impunity for officials who broke the law in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and the heavy-handed police crackdown on peaceful women's rights protestors increased tensions in the country. It revealed the ruling party's intentions to further solidify its power, despite growing public discontent. With their recent pushback against the EU for making the rule of law a condition for EU funds, Polish political leaders put democracy and anti-corruption reforms at risk. [TI]
56 Saint Lucia 45
Note: Saint Lucia is a mountainous island in the Eastern Caribbean with a parliamentary democracy that holds competitive elections and has long experienced peaceful transfers of power between rival parties. Persistent challenges include government corruption and inadequate transparency, police brutality and a perception of impunity for such abuses, and discrimination against LGBT+ people. [FH]
55 Dominica 48
Note: Dominica is a tropical mountainous island in the Eastern Caribbean (Lesser Antilles).

As a transshipment point for narcotics, Dominica is affected by the international narcotics market, and the laundering of drug money made outside of Dominica is a major concern (US State Department 2019). [TI]
54 Czechia 49
Note: The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe and was formerly, as Czechoslovakia, a member of the Warsaw Pact.

The fish rots from the head down. In June 2019, nearly thirty years after peaceful protests led to the fall of communism in former Czechoslovakia, people in Prague, Czech Republic, took to the streets again to demand the resignation of incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The protests followed continued public discontent and a recent decision by the European Commission (EC) that Babiš has significant conflicts of interest related to his private business dealings. An analysis by the EC's Legal Service led to the Commission's decision that the Czech Republic must repay 17 million euros in EU subsidies received by Babiš's company over the past two years. [TI]
54 Oman 49
Note: Oman is a sultanate at the southeastern corner of the Arabian peninsula.

Oman is a hereditary monarchy, and power is concentrated in the hands of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said, who has ruled since 1970. The regime restricts virtually all political rights and civil liberties, imposing criminal penalties for criticism and dissent. [FH] Oman's law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively. There were reports of government corruption, including in the police, ministries, and state-owned companies. Political and social favoritism were widespread in public and private institutions. [US DoS] Corruption is generally not an obstacle for businesses in Oman. Nonetheless, risks are higher when dealing with the elite as nepotism is widespread in the higher echelons of the government. The intertwined business interests of the political elite have resulted in perceived widespread political corruption. [R&C]
54 Rwanda 49
Note: Rwanda is a small tropical landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley in Central Africa, north of Burundi and south of Uganda.

The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by President Paul Kagame, has ruled the country since 1994, when it ousted forces responsible for that year's genocide and ended the Rwandan Civil War. While the regime has maintained stability and economic growth, it has also suppressed political dissent through pervasive surveillance, intimidation, and suspected assassinations. [FH] To his admirers, Kagame is a visionary leader, but to his critics, he is a despot who tolerates no opposition. Kagame has been criticized for trampling on freedoms, building up the army to assert his authority, and using anti-genocide legislation to clamp down on opponents. [BBC]
53 Grenada 52
Note: The tiny island in the eastern Caribbean is one of the smallest independent countries in the western hemisphere.

Grenada is a parliamentary democracy that regularly holds credible elections. Ongoing concerns include corruption, discrimination against the LGBT+ people, and violence against women and children. Corruption remains a prominent issue in Grenada. A number of suggested amendments in the 2016 constitutional reform package would have strengthened anti-corruption safeguards, but all were voted down by significant margins. [FH]
53 Italy 52
Note: Italy, the land of pasta, espresso and the mafia. The fact that corruption is a problem in Italy is not due to espresso or pasta. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project's (OCCRP) list of headlines containing the keywords Mafia and Italy is long.
The Risk & Compliance Portal writes in its Italy Corruption Report that "There is a high risk of corruption for businesses operating in Italy. Public procurement, in particular, presents a high risk of corruption, as it involves large resources and exposes companies to organized crime. The integrity of public officials is marred by their relationships with organized crime and businesses."

The CPI 2020 marks a slowdown in the positive trend that had seen Italy gain 11 points from 2012 to 2019, while confirming it in 20th place among the 27 member countries of the European Union. [TI]
53 Malta 52
Note: Malta is a small island country in the Mediterranean Sea, about 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily.

With a score of 53, Malta is a significant decliner on the CPI, dropping seven points since 2015 and hitting a new all-time low. According to an EU report about the rule of law in Malta, "deep corruption patterns have been unveiled and have raised a strong public demand for a significantly strengthened capacity to tackle corruption and wider rule of law reforms". In 2019, a public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia highlighted high-level corruption and led to the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. [1]
53 Mauritius 52
Note: Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 900 km (560 mi) east of Madagascar. It is known as a dream destination for sun-seeking tourists.

Mostly hidden from the visitors is the darker side of the island, corruption. Allegedly not as widespread as in other African countries, Mauritius has its share of corruption, nepotism and cronyism. The list of Mauritian corruption scandals at Wikipedia is long and provides a revealing insight into the island nation's entangled political situation.
53 Saudi Arabia 52
Note: Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is a desert country in the Middle East; it occupies most of the territory of the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia's score does not reflect the myriad problems in the country, including a dismal human rights record and severe restrictions on journalists, political activists and other citizens.

In 2017, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman conducted an "anti-corruption" purge as part of his reform of the country. Despite the government's claims to have recovered some $106 billion in stolen assets, there was no due process, no transparent investigation, and no fair and free trial for suspects. [TI]
51 Malaysia 57
Note: Malaysia consists of two geographical regions separated by the South China Sea; Peninsular Malaysia (or West Malaysia) and Malaysian Borneo (or East Malaysia), located on the northern part of the island of Borneo.

Malaysia's high ranked politician and former prime minister Najib Razak has been found guilty on a number of charges of corruption linked to the multibillion-dollar state investment fund, 1MDB. Najib could face decades in prison but the court procedures are slow. Najib Razak is the eldest son of Abdul Razak, Malaysia's second prime minister and the nephew of Hussein Onn, its third prime minister. [BBC] Malaysia's anti-corruption efforts received a major boost in 2018 with the election of the Pakatan Harapan government, which came to power on the promise of a clean, accountable, and transparent regime that resonated well with people in the wake of the 1MDB scandal. [World Bank]
51 Namibia 57
Note: Namibia is a country in southwestern Africa with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean; its landscape is mainly desert.

The president of Namibia has been implicated in new allegations of corruption involving the country's lucrative fishing industry by an investigation released by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and The Namibian newspaper. [AlJazeera] Top Namibian officials allegedly used a secret company to siphon millions of dollars from a state-backed fishing deal. Court documents obtained by reporters describe how the officials then funneled the cash to multiple companies controlled by people connected to the ruling SWAPO party.
The so-called Fishrot scandal is the largest bribery scheme that has ever come to light in Namibia. It stemmed from a trove of more than 30,000 confidential documents published by Wikileaks detailing how one of Iceland's largest fishing companies, Samherji, had paid more than $10 million to SWAPO's leadership to secure fishing rights in the country. [OCCRP]
50 Greece 59
Note: The country in southeastern Europe consists of a mainland and many islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, both bays of the Mediterranean Sea.

In 2016, the OECD, Greece and the European Commission launched a project to increase integrity and reduce corruption in Greece through technical empowerment of the Greek authorities for the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NCAP). The project was completed in January 2018. [OECD] Transparency International stated in 2012 that corruption had played a major role in causing the Greek financial crisis. [FTC]

Back in 2010, REUTERS wrote: Corruption cost Greece about $1 billion (668.6 million pounds) last year, watchdog Transparency International said on Tuesday, up 5 percent from the year before, with state hospitals, urban planning and tax offices the most corrupt.

CPI - Part II - The Bad CPI - Part III - The Ugly



The least corrupt countries in the world.

The 25 least corrupt countries in the world according to the CPI.

The countries that score highest on the CPI have their share of corruption problems. While no country gets full marks on the CPI, the top performing countries have several democratic attributes in common that contribute to their high scores. This includes strong institutions, rule of law and high levels of economic development. But democratic strength may be doubted in countries like Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore.

The real strengths of almost all the countries in the top 25 probably lie more in their high level of economic development. This, however, also opens doors to government influence (lobbying) at the state and federal level by corporations and financial institutions that drive the strong economy.

Other weaknesses of the top scorers are, lack of supervision of the financial sector, gaps in a country's anti-money laundering supervisory framework, and weak disclosure laws and lack of whistleblower protection legislation. A weak financial supervision make some countries a very attractive place to park dirty money. This is done through the purchase of assets, like real estate and other luxury goods, hedge fund investments, and capital flight to private bank accounts. [1]


The top-ranked countries (with a score of 50 to 100) are the nations with the lowest level of corruption (perception) or the least corrupt nations worldwide.

The lowest ranked countries (with a score less than 30) are the political entities (states) with the highest level of corruption (perception), the most corrupt countries in the world.

The CPI Score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).

Note: Rankings may not take into account recent or ongoing political developments in countries, such as Myanmar and Belarus, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, or Israel's land grab.

Notes are based on various recognized sources such as Amnesty International, the BBC (BBC), the CIA The World Factbook (CIA), Freedom House (FH), the The Risk & Compliance Portal (R&C), Transparency International and others.

Related Categories:

Corruption Perceptions Index 2016
Corruption Perceptions Index 2005

Countries and Press Freedom
The Press Freedom Index.
Human Development Index (HDI)
Countries by standards of the UN Human Development Index.
First, Second and Third World
A list of states of the first, second and the third world, with an explanation of the terms.
Nations in Transit
Comparative study of post-communist nations in transit to democracy.



Countries by Continents
Africa | Asia | Australia-Oceania | The Americas | Europe