IN SHORT

World Bank: Billions spent on bribes in Slovakia

THE WORLD Bank estimates that Slovaks spend tens if not hundreds of billions of crowns every year on under-the-table payments and bribes. According to a report by the bank, companies in the 10 new EU-member states spend five to seven percent of their annual revenues on bribery and extortion payments.

The money goes to secure needed information and lucrative contracts, as well as "security" from organized crime groups.

Firms have no difficulty concealing these illegal payments in their books to make them appear legal - the money is often accounted for as payment for consulting services. Bribes are also hidden as marketing expenses or operating costs, the SME daily reported.

Companies in Slovakia spend a similar proportion of their sales revenues, or 5-7 percent, on legal activities, such as enforcing contracts.

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