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S. Korea edges up to 37th in global corruption index

All News 17:55 January 27, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea climbed 6 notches in an international corruption awareness ranking to 37th out of 168 countries in 2015, a report by a global anti-corruption watchdog showed Wednesday.

South Korea scored 56 out of 100 in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report issued by Berlin-based Transparency International (TI).

The index evaluates countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be, using corruption-related data collected by governance and business experts, according to TI.

A score of 70 and above is considered generally clean, while a score of 50 and above means not entirely corrupted.

Among the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea ranked 27th, unchanged from the last two years.

Compared with 2008, South Korea neither significantly improved nor declined in corruption perception scores or ranking. It scored 5.6 out of 10 and ranked 40th in 2008, Transparency International Korea, the local chapter, said.

"In 2015, a sensation was generated as a list of politicians who allegedly received money from Sung Wan-jong was revealed, and a following series of corruption in the defense industry shocked the public," TI Korea said.

Sung, the late chairman of construction firm Keangnam Enterprises Inc., left an alleged "bribery list" that included high-profile politicians before hanging himself in April last year, just hours before a court hearing that would have determined the legality of his arrest regarding embezzlement charges.

"Still, there were some positive changes including the legislation of the anti-corruption law," it added.

The so-called Kim Young-ran law, named after its proposer, subjects public officials, journalists and private school faculty to a maximum penalty of three years in prison or five times the amount accepted in money or valubles if they are worth more than 1 million won (US$900) from one person in one installment, regardless of whether it was in exchange for favors or related to their work. The new law is to take effect from September.

North Korea, which joined the list in 2011, scored 8 out of 100 and shared last place with Somalia in 2015, according to the report.

Denmark topped the list with 91 points, followed by Finland with 90 and Sweden with 89.

Singapore ranked the highest among Asian countries at 8th. Hong Kong and Japan were next, sharing 18th place.


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