Iceland Country Profile

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Business Corruption in Iceland

ReykjavikThe Iceland country profile provides detailed analysis of how corruption affects Iceland's political environment and business climate. Throughout the profile, readers can find detailed descriptions of the country's efforts in curbing corruption, corruption-related legislation, risk-prone sectors and industries and more. This profile's General Information chapter provides an overview of anti-corruption activities and corruption risks in relation to Iceland's political, business and regulatory environments. In 2008, Iceland suffered the largest banking failure in history, relative to the size of an economy, which revealed several weaknesses in the integrity and independence of Iceland’s governing institutions, and the government has taken several steps to improve integrity and anti-corruption measures, for instance:

  • The Office of the Special Prosecutor, created specifically to deal with financial crimes in 2008, has been very active regarding investigations and prosecution of private bankers and political figures.
  • In an effort to curb conflicts of interest between business and public employees, the Code of Conduct was introduced for central government staff in 2010 and for ministers in 2012.

However, challenges remain in the fight against corruption:

  • The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) reports that the potential for conflict of interest in governing institutions is very difficult to avoid due to an entrenched culture of personal and professional relationship networks in Iceland's small population.
  • The OECD finds that Iceland needs to improve coordination between its law enforcement authorities and ensure funding to investigate and prosecute economic and financial crimes, including foreign bribery.

Detailed descriptions of the level of corruption in a number of sectors are outlined in the profile's Corruption Levels. For a more detailed analysis of government, media and civil society anti-corruption activities, visit the Public Anti-Corruption Initiatives and Private Anti-Corruption Initiatives chapters.


Publication date: December 2013

Data verified by GAN Integrity Solutions

European Commission