A leading global anti-corruption monitoring group says corruption is widespread throughout the world, but that it is at its worst in Africa.
The Berlin-based Transparency International released the information in its annual survey that ranked 163 nations. The study found that corruption is perceived as a serious problem in three quarters of the countries surveyed.
The report singles out Haiti as the most corrupt country, followed by Iraq, Guinea and Burma. Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan were also listed as among the most corrupt.
Among the least corrupt were Finland, Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark. The United States slipped three notches to number 20, while Russia was ranked in the rampant corruption category.
The group's chief executive, David Nussbaum, says there is a clear link between high levels of corruption and poverty. The group says much remains to be done before there is meaningful improvement in the lives of the world's poorest people.
Transparency International says the United States is among a group of countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption. That group includes Brazil, Israel, Cuba, Laos and Jordan.
Among countries not ranked because there was not enough available data were Afghanistan, Somalia and North Korea.