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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Ukraine

9th August 2010

Stopping bribery in Ukraine – and the UK

I blogged last December about the urgent need to tackle corruption in Ukraine, which had slid to place 146 (out of 180) in Transparency International’s corruption index for 2009. Since the election of President Yanukovych, the new Ukrainian government has announced several anti-corruption measures, including welcome steps to deregulate business. That in turn could help cut the number of opportunities for corruption. But many Ukrainian and foreign business people continue to tell me that corruption is a major problem in Ukraine – even at the simplest level of the reputation of the traffic police for demanding bribes.

My perception, therefore, is that there is not yet persuasive evidence of significant improvement. I hope the Ukrainian government will continue to make this a priority, with a view to removing what amounts to a massive handicap to economic growth and prosperity in Ukraine. Paying bribes raises costs, impairs competition and reduces services to the detriment of everyone – but particularly the weakest members of society. It would be good to see Ukraine begin to climb the Transparency International table when the next edition appears later this year.

Meanwhile the United Kingdom has announced that new legislation to combat bribery will enter into force in April 2011. You can read a set of questions and answers about the proposed new legislation on our embassy website. The new legislation will mean that all British companies operating in Ukraine, and non-British companies operating in Ukraine which undertake commercial business in the United Kingdom, will have to be able to demonstrate that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery which meet the requirements of the Act. If your business falls into either category – or if you’re interested in what the UK is doing to tackle bribery and corruption – check out the questions and answers at the link now.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.