Greece is a "corrupt legality," new report says


A victory statue in Athens. Greece can stave off default for now.


Oli Scarff

Corruption is rampant in Greek politics, business and media, a new report says. 

Transparency International, a watchdog group that measures corruption, released its report about Greece on Wednesday. "We all know about the debt crisis, but Greece is also suffering a crisis of values," Costas Bakouris, head of the corruption group's Greek division, told Athens News.

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Problems in the public sector include government officials who keep their own "special accounts" that aren't subject to transparency, buildings that are illegally built but then not demolished and the ability of some people to avoid standard administrative fines such as traffic tickets, according to the report

But it's not just the government that the report targets. It also found that the media, particularly broadcast media, is prone to "political pressure." Media owners sometimes politicize media content to benefit their own broader business activities, the report says. 

For the business sector, the corruption group found that companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange were significantly more transparent and responsible than those not listed.

"Greek people live in a state of 'corrupt legality' meaning that the law often condones or even fosters corrupt practices," the report says.  It warns that the Greek economy will not improve if civil servants and businesses don't fight corruption. 

The report should come as no surprise to Greek citizens. A survey published in February says that 98 percent of Greeks feel corruption is a major problem in their country, according to the Wall Street Journal