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BRIBERY OCCURS when something of value is improperly given to a public official in exchange for preferential treatment, or when officials use their position of power for personal gain. Bribes represent a corruption of a relationship of trust.

According to Transparency International, a non-governmental international organization devoted to combating corruption, bribery has several damaging effects. It undermines societal integrity, causes human rights abuses, corrupts democratic systems, discriminates against developing countries attempting to compete on a global scale, and disrupts free market operations. Within business, politics, and even within the criminal justice system, the offering of bribes has a long-established history to the point of being an institutionalized practice. The offering of bribes generally gives a distinct advantage over competitors by allowing an individual or organization to ...

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