NEWS

Corruption by numbers

Corruption in Greece reaches, and often exceeds, levels seen in developing economies, according to data provided by the World Bank and private sector financing subsidiary International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IFC looked at three indicators of corruption: the so-called «unofficial payments,» measured as a percentage of total revenues, that an enterprise makes to tax and other state officials in order to expedite cases having to do with taxes, permits, legal issues and other state services; the percentage of enterprises that believe it is essential to bribe inspectors and tax officials to expedite their cases; the third criterion involves the cut given to state officials by companies awarded public projects. The World Bank estimates that kickbacks to state officials account for 0.23 percent of company turnover, or 330 million euros annually, since total company turnover is estimated at 150 billion euros. This places Greece ahead in corruption compared to countries such as Ireland, Portugal, South Korea, Estonia and Senegal. It is worth noting that the countries with the least corruption according to this index are South Korea and Spain, where enterprises spend about 0.02 percent of their total revenues on kickbacks, followed by South Africa (0.05 percent) and Slovenia (0.06 percent). Three years ago, South Korea was among the most corrupt countries on this count, with companies spending 2.91 percent of their revenues on kickbacks. Over half of the enterprises active in Greece (55.91 percent) believe it is necessary to bribe tax officials, putting Greece in the 11th position worldwide behind Bangladesh, Kyrgystan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Serbia and Montenegro, Uzbekistan and Russia. On the third count, the cut from public contracts, this averages 0.79 percent of the contract in Greece, larger than in Madagascar, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Armenia, and almost all Eastern European countries. Finally, the World Bank estimates the extent of Greece’s gray economy at 28.6 percent of GDP or 52 billion euros. No comparative figures for other countries were provided.