Israel Tops Transparency Index

An aerial view of Israel Shipyards. (Meronim)

Three years after finding itself at the bottom of international corruption rankings, Israel was ranked No. 1 in enforcement of laws against bribery offenses, Globes reported on Wednesday.

The Transparency International organization cited Israel’s stepped-up enforcement and wide-ranging investigations against Israeli business entities for bribery of public officials in foreign countries.

Among the high-profile cases earning Israel the top rating was that involving the Arison group subsidiary Shikun & Binui, which allegedly bribed an official in Kenya to promote development projects there.

Shapir Engineering & Industry allegedly bribed a Romanian politician in order to secure a 10-million-euro deal.

Arrests were made among executives in Israel Shipyards for alleged bribery in multiple defense contracts valued in the tens of millions of dollars.

Israeli billionaire Benny Steinmetz was charged with passing a bribe to the then-president of Guinea and his wife for metal mining licenses worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It should be noted, however, that the above-mentioned cases are still in investigatory stages, and no indictments have been filed.

Transparency International is a global non-profit organization with over 100 member- countries. Publication of its corruption index is aimed at promoting norms of ethics and transparency. Its Israeli branch, Transparency International Israel, is headed by former National Labor Court President Judge (ret.) Nili Arad.

The report commended the efforts of the Tax Authority and the Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority in curbing bribery offenses, as well as promoting increased awareness of these crimes.

The report also mentions the conditions settlement with Teva under the Securities Law and the various investigations being conducted by Lahav 433, accompanied by the State Attorney’s Office Taxation and Economics Division, including the case of Shikun & Binui.

Israel did not occupy the top spot alone. It shared the honor with the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland and Norway. All excelled in enforcing the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Anti-Bribery Convention.

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