Iceland Moves Down In Ranking On Corruption Index, Still Most Corrupt Nordic Country

Iceland Moves Down In Ranking On Corruption Index, Still Most Corrupt Nordic Country

Published January 28, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index shows Iceland currently ranked 17th in the world in terms of the world’s least corrupt countries in 2020. This is down from 11th place in 2019.

Separately, there is the Corruption Score, where 100 means being absolutely corruption-free. On that front, no country in the world is currently free of corruption—New Zealand and Denmark come closest, both tied at 88—but Iceland is at 75, down from 78 in 2019.

In a more detailed report on the top 25 countries for minimal corruption, Transparency International says of Iceland:

“Contrary to its CPI score, Iceland (75) and its reputation as a corruption-free country took a nosedive as revelations came to light that incriminated the country’s governing elite and its national companies. For example, the 2008 financial crisis exposed shady banks, the Panama Papers implicated the country’s former Prime Minister and the Fishrot Files revealed how far the country’s biggest fishery would go to extend its business and launder suspicious proceeds. Iceland’s foreign bribery problem is also a big issue. Last month, the OECD published a new report harshly criticizing the country’s enforcement efforts.”

The Fishrot Files very likely played a major role in Iceland’s 2020 score, the revelations first breaking as they did in the last month of 2019 and continuing into the new year. The OECD report is also particularly damning, specifically citing the country’s lack of enforcement against bribery offenses amongst other things.

All this being the case, Iceland remains the most corrupt of the Nordic countries, a dubious honour it also received in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

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