UN urges 'integrity' from banks, governments

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- The chief of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime is urging the world's banks and governments to demonstrate "greater financial integrity" and help cut down on economic wrongdoing.

Agency chief Antonio Maria Costa says the global Convention Against Corruption can help restore battered confidence in international financial markets -- but only if bankers and leaders respect its principles.

Costa warns that corruption is not only destroying jobs, productivity and markets in the developed world, but also robbing the very poorest of development aid.

He says that if more governments and businesses took the anti-corruption convention to heart, "we wouldn't be in this mess."

Costa spoke Monday, the eve of the International Day Against Corruption.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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