Danny McCance 26 Apr 2018 11:53am

Perception of corruption in UK business rises

More than a third (34%) of UK executives believe bribery and corruption remains prevalent in business – 20% more than in 2012

This increase is gradually bringing perceptions more in line with the international consensus, where 38% of global executives believe corruption “occurs widely in business”, according to a report from Big Four firm EY.

The perception of corruption was higher in the UK than in Western Europe, where 21% believe corruption happens extensively in business.

The survey included interviews with 2,550 senior decision makers at the largest companies in 55 countries and territories.

It found that more than half (52%) of respondents in emerging countries considered bribery and corruption to be widespread, compared to 20% in developed countries.

In addition, 11% of executives stated that bribery was common practice in their sector.

Andrew Gordon, EY global fraud investigation and dispute leader said the challenge for boards and management, “Is to build a robust culture of integrity and compliance”.

He said this needs to involve employees doing the right thing, not just “because a company code of conduct says they should”, but because it is the right thing to do.

The scale of global corruption in business has not improved since 2012, despite increased anti-corruption laws and enforcement across multiple countries.

More than $11bn (£7.9bn) of penalties and fines have been imposed by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) since 2012.

Last month, the SFO won a significant corruption case against Chadian officials and will recoup £4.4m, the first time money has been returned overseas in a civil recovery case.

 The SEC brought in $3.8bn for the 2017 financial year.