18 October 2005 -- Transparency International says serious public-sector corruption exists in more than two-thirds of 159 countries it has surveyed as part of its annual "Corruption Perceptions" Index.
In its report released today, Transparency International defines state corruption as "the abuse of public office for private gain." Its annual index ranks countries by how much corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.
The index showed Central Asia and the South Caucasus as areas of particular concern. The report says the lowest regional performer is Turkmenistan, which was given the world's third-worst rating.
The worst-ranked Arab country was Iraq, at 137th place.
Romania was ranked as having the worst public-sector corruption among states currently negotiating European Union membership, which also includes Bulgaria, Croatia, and Turkey.
Iceland, Finland, and New Zealand received the best ratings.
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