10 May 2018

World-wide the scale of bribery and corruption has shown no improvement since 2012 and it is actually on the increase in the UK.

This is according to the 15th EY Global Fraud Survey, which surveyed 2550 executives across 55 countries, including 50 executives from the UK where a third of respondents (34%) stated that they believe bribery and corruption happens widely in business, up by a fifth on the 2012 survey.

The 34% reported in the UK is higher than the average of 21% in Western Europe, with Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands all recording significantly lower figures.

Respondents in the UK also reported higher instances of criminal wrongdoing, with 18% stating their company had experienced a significant fraud in the last two years – above the average for developed markets at 10%.

These increases come despite over $11 billion of financial penalties having been imposed by regulators and law enforcement agencies around the world since 2012.

EY’s Head of Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services – UK & Ireland, Richard Indge, said: “Increasing regulation worldwide appears to be having little demonstrable impact on corruption. The prevalence of corruption, both globally and in the UK, means that businesses remain vulnerable to significant financial and reputational harm.”

While 20% of respondents in developed markets said that bribery and corruption happens widely in business, in Central and Eastern Europe that figure was 47%, in the Middle East 62% and in Latin America (74%).

There is evidence that firms agree on compliance with only 4% of respondents in the UK saying that cash payments are justified to assist a business in an economic downturn, below the average of 6% in developed markets.

However, while 78% of respondents globally believe their organisations have the clear intent of penalising misconduct, only 57% are aware of people having actually been penalised.