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Austria falls in world corruption ranking

Austria has fallen in the corruption ranking created by Transparency International to 25 out of 174 countries falling from 16 last year and number 10 in 2005.

The move puts Austria behind Denmark, Finland and New Zealand that were seen as the least corrupt nations, but also behind Chile (20) and the Bahamas (22).

Greece is perceived to have the most corrupt public sector of all 27 EU countries. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia were perceived to be the most corrupt.

Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index gathered views on 176 countries worldwide.

Two-thirds scored below 50, with zero highly corrupt and 100 very clean.

Greece's global ranking fell from 80th in 2011 to 94th in 2012, reflecting the country's continuing economic turmoil and widespread tax evasion.

Italy was ranked 72nd, below EU-newcomer Romania at 66 in the index.

"Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making", said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International (TI), a body set up in 1993 to expose and tackle countrywide corruption.

"Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people."

TI believes there are strong correlations between poverty, conflict and perceived levels of corruption.

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