The European debt crisis has given way to a new wave of corruption as some of the most hard-hit countries in the turmoil have tumbled in an annual graft ranking, watchdog group Transparency International said.
Greece, in its fifth year of recession and crippled by rounds of austerity, fell to 94th place from 80th -- ranking it below Colombia and Liberia, according to the group’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Ireland, Austria, Malta and Italy were also among member states in the single currency to slide.
Austria has been gripped by a series of high-profile corruption cases, many linked to the previous government that ruled from 2000 to 2007 and backed by the late populist politician Joerg Haider. They were exposed by the financial crisis, investigative reporters and stepped-up prosecutions.