Majority of businesses believe corruption is widespread

More than half or 55 percent of Latvian business representatives believe corruption and bribery is widespread, according to the latest fraud and corruption survey conducted by EY audit and consulting company.

"Compared to more developed countries, Latvian business leaders admit a considerably higher corruption level in Latvian business environment. As many as 55% of respondents agreed that bribery and corrupt practices happen widely in their country compared to just 35 percent in developed economies," EY reported.

At the same time, Latvian business leaders more often than in developed countries believe that financial accounts, transparency and precision is on high level in Latvia," EY said.

Latvia's showing is slightly better than in Russia (60%), but much worse than in France (29%), Germany (26%), Estonia (21%) and the countries with the lowest corruption perception -- Sweden (10%) and Denmark (4%). The highest corruption perceptions in the 38 countries surveyed were recorded in Croatia (92%) and Slovenia (87%).

Coincidntally, according to EY, 55 percent of Latvian companies do not have any corruption prevention policies, which is slightly worse than in Eastern Europe on average (51 pct). 

"Business management and leadership play a critical role in prevention of corrupt practices. Unfortunately we see that just 42 percent of Latvian respondents agree that the company's top management is implementing high ethical standards in business compared to 55 percent in Germany or 53 percent in Estonia," said EY Baltic partner Diana Krisjane.

The survey polled 3,800 employees of large companies in 38 countries.

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