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Only firms in countries notorious for corruption such as Nigeria, Egypt, Namibia and Kenya reported more fraud in the survey of 2,700 managers in 59 countries from accounting firm Ernst &Young (EY).
Their 2014 Global Fraud Survey showed that in Germany only six percent of firms thought fraud was widespread, yet 26 percent reported serious cases of fraud within the last two years.
That was the highest level in Europe alongside Norway, more than Russia (16 percent) and almost as much as Nigeria (30 percent). The average for western Europe was 12 percent.
But rather than being a sign of increased economic crime, the high number of detected frauds was an indication of the intense efforts of German companies to tackle corruption, Stefan Heißner from EY told Welt newspaper.
“Awareness of the dangers posed by corruption among companies has increased significantly in recent years,” said Heißner.
In the last decade, major German companies including Siemens, MAN and Daimler have been embroiled in corruption scandals.
And the country’s most recent high-profile corruption case has involved Berlin’s new international airport where the technical director was fired in June amid allegations he demanded a bribe from a contractor.
Heißner said that despite their efforts German companies were still at risk of fraud, especially firms heavily involved abroad.
But closer to home, one in four managers in Germany also thought it was appropriate to offer entertainment to win a contract.
EY said in a statement: “Our survey shows that the risks businesses are facing are not receding. The incidence of fraud and reported levels of corruption are not declining.”
The survey interviewed 50 managers in Germany.
– The Local