Prague - The Czech Republic occupies the top position in a global chart assessing countries' tolerance of bribery aimed at winning or keeping contracts, according to a survey carried out by Ernst & Young (EY), EY representatives said at a press conference today.
The survey was conducted among more than 2,700 respondents in 59 countries.
In the Czech Republic, a total of 63 percent of managers are willing to accept an offer of "non-standard services" in order to win a contract, while the world's average is 29 percent, in western Europe it is 30 percent and in neighbouring countries 31 percent.
"Non-standard services" may include invitation to play golf in an exotic country, congress tourism or a visit to "the oldest profession workers," EY investigative services head Tomas Kafka said.
As many as 37 percent of Czech managers are willing to provide a personal gift in order to win a contract. Worldwide, the percentage stands at 14 percent.
The first place in financial bribes goes to Greece with 58 percent, while the Czech Republic, with 6 percent, ranks in the second half of the chart.
"Corruption is a widespread phenomenon in the Czech Republic, and non-ethical behaviour persists," EY Czech branch head Magdalena Soucek said.
A total of 69 percent of Czech respondents consider corruption in their country a widespread phenomenon. Globally it is 39 percent.
As many as 70 percent of domestic companies have internal anti-corruption regulations and a code of conduct. In the previous poll from 2012, their share stood at 74 percent. Worldwide, the percentage reaches over 80 percent.
"It is surprising how indifferent Czech companies are towards prevention despite the fact that the law on criminal liability of companies was introduced two years ago," Kafka said.
In addition, a total of 31 percent of domestic companies do not have a special phone line for whistleblowing, while in the USA, 96 percent of all companies have such a line, Kafka said.
At the same time, however, the attitude of Czech managers towards introduction of anti-corruption measures has improved. "A total of 84 percent of respondents from among top managers made it clear that they put emphasis on implementation of internal anti-corruption regulations. More than 60 percent of Czech companies have set clear sanctions for their violation," Kafka said.
The poll has also revealed an alarming fact that more than 10 percent of Czech respondents consider distorting of data in financial statements to be justified if it helps the company survive a crisis. The worldwide average is 6 percent.
"When we realise that the top management has a big chance of avoiding financial audits, the results of our poll concerning the integrity of (executive) directors mean an alarming piece of news for governing and supervisory bodies," Soucek said.
Two percent of Czech managers have encountered a request for a bribe. Worldwide, the percentage reaches 7 percent.