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Germany

No Business For Black Sheep

In the wake of the funding scandals that rocked the governing Social Democrats in at least two western German cities, federal Economics Minister Werner Müller wants to introduce an anti-corruption register.

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Bribery under scrutiny in Germany.

The recent party funding irregularities on a local level have led the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) at the center to take necessary steps.

In an interview with Germany’s mass circulation Bild newspaper, Economics Minister Werner Müller said that companies caught trying to bribe politicians should be prohibited from competing for public contracts in the future. He said an anti-corruption register would be maintained to keep track of such companies.

"We are not a completely corrupted banana republic," said Müller. But every case of corruption is one case too many. "That is why these companies cannot receive any more public contracts anywhere in Germany."

The move comes on the heels of a funding scandal involving the SPD in the western German cities of Cologne and Wuppertal.

A sketchy track record

According to the anti-corruption organization Transparency International, corruption plays a larger role in Germany than many expect. The group estimates that only 5 percent of all cases are even uncovered.

The most corrupt sectors are local communities, which decide on significant investments in closed-door meetings, the organization said.

The construction sector, as well as all areas with an extensive network of field staff, such as the pharmaceuticals industry, are also particularly susceptible to corruption.

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