A report on corruption in 183 countries has put France at 25th place, performing better than Italy and Spain but behind the UK and Germany.

"/> A report on corruption in 183 countries has put France at 25th place, performing better than Italy and Spain but behind the UK and Germany.

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CORRUPTION

France lags Germany and UK in corruption rankings

A report on corruption in 183 countries has put France at 25th place, performing better than Italy and Spain but behind the UK and Germany.

France lags Germany and UK in corruption rankings
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The annual index by Berlin-based Transparency International gives countries a score out of 10 on the perceived levels of public sector corruption.

Top of the ranking in 2011 is New Zealand, scoring 9.5 out of a possible 10. Denmark, Finland and Sweden follow. 

France keeps the 25th position it held in 2010, with a score of 7. This put it 14th among other European countries.

Other countries to beat France in the ranking include the United States, Chile and Qatar.

According to Transparency International a series of affairs, including the scandal over the drug Mediator and the trial of former head of state Jacques Chirac, did not help the country’s ranking.

The organization said they “probably contributed to the tarnished image that international observers continue to have of the French political and administrative class.”

Transparency International also said that corruption has worsened the economic difficulties being faced in Europe.

It said the problems were “in part linked to the inability of public authorities to fight corruption and tax evasion which are among the main causes of the crisis.”

The worst performing countries in the table were Burma, North Korea and Somalia. Worst performing countries in the European Union were Romania, Greece and Bulgaria.

The same organization released a ranking in November on corrupt business practices which saw France slip from 9th to 11th place.

The Bribe Payers Index asked business executives from 28 countries about the perceived likelihood of their companies paying bribes. 

The Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium topped the table for being the least likely to pay bribes with Russia, China and Mexico the worst performers. 

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CORRUPTION

Bolloré hits back at ‘condescending treatment of Africans’

French industrialist Vincent Bolloré has gone on the offensive over corruption charges brought against him over his business dealings in Africa, claiming the case was rooted in prejudice about the continent.

Bolloré hits back at 'condescending treatment of Africans'
Conakry, the port in Guinea at the centre of the graft accusations. Photo: Cellou Binani/AFP
In an opinion article published on Sunday in the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche, the head of the Bolloré Group, who was charged in connection with the awarding of two lucrative port concessions in West Africa, said the continent was wrongfully portrayed in France as a “land of misrule, even corruption”.
   
“People imagine heads of state deciding by themselves to award huge contracts to unscrupulous investors,” he wrote. 
   
Investigating magistrates on Thursday charged the 66-year-old over allegations that his group's communications arm undercharged the presidents of Guinea and Togo for work on their election campaigns as sweeteners for contracts to operate Conakry port and Lomé port.
   
Defending himself against the claims, Bolloré wrote: “Who could imagine that a few hundred thousand euros in spending on communications, which were accounted for in a transparent manner… determined hundreds of millions of euros in investment in port operations that require significant technical know-how, obtained through international tenders?”
   
Bolloré, one of France's most powerful businessmen, sits at the head of a sprawling business empire with revenues of 18.3 billion euros ($22.4 billion) in 2017 and interests in everything from construction and logistics to media, advertising and agriculture.
   
Africa accounts for about 20 percent of its turnover, excluding the Vivendi media group which is controlled by the family-run Bolloré Group.
 
France 'will need Africa'
 
In the letter titled “Should we get out of Africa?”, Bolloré said the French investigation had made him question whether he should pursue his activities on the continent, where he had invested 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion).
   
“I have realised over the past few days that what we have been doing in good faith for a long time, seen through the prism of those who consider the continent to be run by lawless people, is fertile ground for legitimate  suspicion,” he wrote.
   
Slamming the “inaccurate and condescending treatment of Africans” he warned that “soon, France will need Africa more than the other way round.”  
 
The nearly 200-year-old Bolloré Group operates a dozen container ports in Africa and has stakes in several others, along with three railway concessions and interests in palm oil production.
   
Its communications arm Havas worked on Guinean President Alpha Condé's winning 2010 election campaign.
   
Months after taking office, Condé terminated the contract of Conakry's existing port operator and gave it to rival Bolloré. Havas also worked on the communications strategy of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe.
   
After Gnassingbe's re-election to a second term in 2010, the Bolloré Group won the 35-year Lomé port contract. Both decisions were challenged by other bidders.
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