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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 04:20 GMT 05:20 UK
British firms 'using bribery abroad'
Money
Companies ignore the threat of prosecution at home
British companies are using bribes to win business abroad despite the threat of prosecution at home, a survey suggests.

Campaign group Transparency International (TI) claims many businesses in Britain and other western countries pay kick-backs to win contracts overseas.

It says the practice is continuing despite a convention designed to halt international corruption.

The result, it claims, is that the firms are helping corrupt officials in developing countries steal billions of pounds from their desperately poor citizens.

Construction

TI has drawn up a list of the countries whose firms are most likely to turn to corruption.

It is headed by companies from China, Russia and South Korea, but the US, France, Germany and Britain are not far behind.

The industries most likely to be affected are defence and construction.

TI says many people in developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia are being kept in poverty because of the practice.

See also:

04 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Bribery laws 'shameful', say MPs
16 Jul 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Bribery - the Russian way
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