Corruption Harms Nordics’ Reputation

The Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - all considered the least corrupt countries in the world, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index, may lose that reputation in the light of recent scandals, Transparency International (TI) said in a statement Sunday.


Nordic countries2Nordic countries. (Credit: Wikimedia)The anti-graft watchdog warned that “The world community is, thus, once again reminded that Nordic countries are not adequately performing their international commitments or even their own stated values, therefore, being seen now as “exporters of corruption.”

The statement listed as a recent case the Icelandic company Samherji giving bribes for fishing rights in Namibia, whereas money for the scheme was transferred through the Norwegian bank DNB.

Danske Bank also left a spot on the almost impeccable Scandinavian corruption record with €200 billion  (US$229 billion) of suspicious payments passed through the Estonian branch of the bank between 2007 and 2015. 

Another Nordic bank - Swedish Swedbank - was also involved in shady businesses, as two offshore companies used Estonian branch accounts to transfer up to €180 million ($204 million) to a wholesaler, which experienced suspiciously rapid growth. 

In order to regain its reputation, according to TI, the Nordic policy makers, business communities and civil societies need to hold themselves to the highest standards.

“They must put in place policies to detect and investigate corrupt acts, protect whistleblowers, enforce the relevant laws already on their books, and fill any existing gaps in their implementation of international anti-corruption standards,” read the statement. 

Despite the recent cases, four Nordic nations - Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway - still rank among the top seven least corrupt countries in the world, according to IT Corruption Perception Index.