Wednesday, 6 July 2016

10 Countries Where Business Practices Are Viewed as Most Secretive

Latin American nations are seen as the most difficult in which to follow the money.

People navigate a rainy day in Argentina, seen as the country with the least transparent business practices. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)
When journalists unveiled the Panama Papers – a financial documents leak of historic size – Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, was first on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' list of "power players" linked to offshore accounts.

Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm from which the documents were sourced, maintains that their practices for helping individuals store their money abroad do not break the law. But corruption aside, business dealings in countries with minimal levels of corporate transparency raise questions about ethics.

Argentina is perceived to be the country with the least transparent business practices, according to data from the 2016 Best Countries rankings. The rankings are a characterization of 60 countries based on a survey of more than 16,000 people from four regions. "Transparent business practices" was one of 65 attributes assessed in the survey and used to forumlate the overall Best Countries ranking.

In an effort to assess openness in business, Transparency International studied what some of the largest corporations in 177 countries disclosed to investors and the general public, including information on taxes, corporate structures and best practices to fight corruption.

The international organization found the financial industry home to the worst performers. Of the five least transparent organizations, four were financial institutions – including Berkshire Hathaway from the U.S. – and more than half of those analyzed were found to disclose no data on their foreign operations.

No company from Brazil scored better than five out of 10 in the transparency index. The country is considered the No. 4 least transparent in terms of business practices.

Corrupt dealings can increase the cost of doing business by 10 percent globally, according to the World Economic Forum. That difference could cover two-thirds of the average global sales tax of 15 percent.

Below are the 10 countries perceived to have the least transparent business practices, according to data from the 2016 Best Countries rankings.
Country NameLeast Transparent in Business RankBest Countries Overall Rank
Argentina 1 40
Guatemala 2 52
Ukraine 3 59
Brazil 4 20
Dominican Republic 5 45
Costa Rica 6 36
Tunisia 7 47
Jordan 8 51
Sri Lanka 9 41
Romania 10 50
Source: US News

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