The perception of corruption levels in Latvia remained unchanged in 2018 compared with 2017, according to the annual Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International January 29.
Latvia ranks in 41st place out of 180 countries included in the survey – the same position it occupied the previous year – and scores 58 points alongside Georgia and Spain.
The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.
The best-performing of the Baltic states is Estonia in joint 18th position with Ireland and Japan, and a score of 73 points, an improvement on the 70 points it scored in 2017.
Lithuania also ranks higher than Latvia in 38th position with 59 points – the same as the previous year.
Delna, the Latvian branch of Transparency International said: “Analysis of the Index data shows a lack of progress and capacity of law enforcement authorities to detect and prosecute corruption cases involving officials. In recent years, criminal cases have been initiated in Latvia for bribery, trading with influence, illicit party financing and money laundering, but they have not yet been tried. Consequently, penalties imposed do not reduce the sense of impunity.
“The assessment of political corruption in 2018 has slightly deteriorated. However… the business sector, the tendency for bribery has decreased in Latvia.”
For the third year running, the top seven countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 consist of the four Nordic nations – Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway – plus New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. All score between 84 and 88 points out of 100 on the index.
The bottom countries are Somalia, Syria and South Sudan with scores of 10, 13 and 13, respectively.
However, the index does not measure crimes such as money-laundering. Denmark, which tops the list this year, has recently been rocked by the money-laundering scandal surrounding Danske Bank, its biggest lender, among other corruption cases. About US$230 billion of suspicious transactions are thought to have passed through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, which has been linked to the Russian Laundromat and Azerbaijani Laundromat schemes uncovered by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). In November, Danske Bank was preliminarily charged for breaking Denmark’s anti-money laundering laws.
You can explore the full data set at the Transparency International website.