The UK is the most corrupt country in the world, according to journalist Robert Saviano.
Saviano, 36 – who has spent more than a decade exposing the inner-workings of the Italian Mafia – came out with this bold statement during a rare appearance at the Hay Literary Festival, the Independent reports.
He has been living under police protection since publishing revelations about members of the Camorra, a Neapolitan branch of the mafia, in 2006.
On paper, it sounds like a pretty surprising statement, but he’s got some decent points to back this up.
Speaking to an audience at Hay-on-Wye, he said:
If I asked you what is the most corrupt place on Earth you might tell me well it’s Afghanistan, maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy and I will tell you it’s the UK.
It’s not the bureaucracy, it’s not the police, it’s not the politics but what is corrupt is the financial capital. 90 per cent of the owners of capital in London have their headquarters offshore.
Considering how lax the government were in dealing with those responsible for the financial crash and the aftermath of the Panama Papers, it does make a lot of sense.
Jersey and the Cayman’s are the access gates to criminal capital in Europe and the UK is the country that allows it. That is why it is important why it is so crucial for me to be here today and to talk to you because I want to tell you, this is about you, this is about your life, this is about your government.
David Cameron faced further calls for the UK to reform the offshore tax havens that our nation’s millionaires and billionaires have been using to avoid paying their fair share of tax, as Britain hosted an Anti-Corruption Summit earlier this month.
This is also when DC decided to make that Nigeria corruption jibe, describing them as ‘fantastically corrupt’ – which seems pretty hypocritical now.
The UK ranked 10th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide – but it seems Saviano massively disagrees with this thinking.
Until we find out the true extent and level of corruption both in government and in the financial system, we will, unfortunately, never know how accurate this index really is.