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Norway next to Nigeria in fraud report

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Norway next to Nigeria in fraud report
Yara, the Norwegian fertiliser company, in January received the highest fine in Norway's history for giving bribes in Libya, Russia and India. Photo: Yara
17:07 CEST+02:00
Norwegian businesses have reported one of the highest levels of corruption in the world, with one in four managers saying they had experienced a significant case of fraud in the last two years.
Only firms in countries notorious for corruption such as Nigeria, Egypt, Namibia and Kenya reported more fraud in the survey of 2,700 managers in 59 countries from accounting firm Ernst &Young (EY).
 
Their 2014 Global Fraud Survey showed that in Norway only six percent of firms thought fraud was widespread, yet 26 percent reported serious cases of fraud within the last two years.
 
That was the highest level in Europe alongside Germany, more than Russia (16 percent) and almost as much as Nigeria (30 percent). The average for western Europe was 12 percent.
 
Elisabeth Roscher, who heads Ernst & Young's fraud investigation operations in Norway, said that the results were "surprising". 
 
"I don't think that there is more economic crime in Norway compared to other countries, but there has been quite extensive media focus and public focus on instances of fraud and there have been some significant corruption cases, which might be the reason why we have had this result on the survey."
 
Norway has had a string of recent corporate bribery scandals: In January, Norwegian fertiliser company Yara was hit by a $48 million fine, the largest corporate fine in the country's history, for paying bribes in Libya, India and Russia; In 2011, three former employees of the firm Norconsult were convicted of bribing officials in Tanzania; and in 2004, Statoil, the majority state-controlled oil company, was  fined $2.8m for paying  bribes to secure contracts in Iran. 
 
Roscher said that in many ways Norway was in fact ahead of many other countries in combatting crime. 
 
"The focus on fraud has led to better control systems. There's a requirement under Norwegian law to have a whistleblower system in place, and this may lead to more cases." 
 
EY said in a statement: “Our survey shows that the risks businesses are facing are not receding. The incidence of fraud and reported levels of corruption are not declining.”
 
The polling company Ipsos interviewed 50 managers in Norway for the survey. 
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