By Frank Zeller ,AFP
BERLIN — Corruption has worsened in China, Turkey and other fast-growing economies, a watchdog warned Wednesday, urging the world’s banking centers to help combat graft and money-laundering. Transparency International released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranked Sudan, North Korea and Somalia as the biggest offenders and Denmark, New Zealand and Finland as the most squeaky clean. It pointed to multiplying reports of graft in Turkey, which deteriorated the most sharply, and poor results for the big emerging economies known collectively as the BRICs �X Brazil, Russia, India and China. The Berlin-based group’s table is the most widely used gauge of corruption by governments, police, court systems, political parties and bureaucracies, highlighting a scourge it says undermines development and deepens poverty. But this year Transparency International also highlighted the role multinational banks and the world’s financial centers play in allowing the dodgy elites of some developing countries to stash away or launder ill-gotten millions. ��Almost every banking scandal that involves money-laundering has gone beyond just small island-state tax havens to really point to illicit funds, corrupt funds, landing in the likes of London, New York, Frankfurt,�� Transparency International advocacy and research director Robin Hodess told AFP. She highlighted large fines paid by the bank HSBC to settle claims that it had allowed itself to be used by money launderers in Mexico, and by BNP Paribas for having transferred funds on behalf of Sudan and other countries blacklisted by the U.S. ��Corruption is a problem for all economies, requiring leading financial centers in the EU and U.S. to act together with fast-growing economies to stop the corrupt from getting away with it,�� the group said. It said the EU and U.S. should, like Denmark, move to create public registers for all companies legally based in their countries, listing all beneficial ownership information. ��Public registers that show who really owns a company would make it harder for the corrupt to take off with the spoils of their abuse of power,�� said Transparency International managing director Cobus de Swardt.