Despite a series of ongoing unsettled scandals, many focusing on banks giving bad loans to businesses or executives charged with using the institutions for personal gain, Greece’s ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Index improved by 10 spots in 2017.
That came before Prime Minister and ruling Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras this year accused 10 rival politicians of taking bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, based on the testimony of three secret witnesses despite no evidence being provided.
He had complained corruption was the fault of previous governments under the party he unseated, New Democracy, and its coalition partner, the former PASOK Socialists, who together owe banks 250 million euros and gave immunity to the bank officers who approved the loans.
Greece now ranks 59th, behind Saudi Arabia and just ahead of Jordan after GTI said there was a downturn in cases of corruption by 8.5 percent, although the country still ranks among the worst in the European Union, especially with petty bribery in the bureaucracy and health care.
The number of officials, bureaucrats and professionals caught with their hands out fell by some 44 percent over 201y, the group said, partly attributed to a decline in the number of prosecutions that were brought although Tsipras said he would stamp out corruption.
His brother and sister were charged by New Democracy with using fake social security documents to get a 1.1-million state loan, which they denied, and as they threatened to sue over the accusations.