LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - A growing number of senior executives around the world are willing to pay bribes to win or keep business, as the hunt for growth supersedes concerns over ethics and regulatory fines, according to a survey published on Wednesday.
Ernst & Young said in its annual global fraud survey that the number of top executives at leading firms who said they would be willing to pay cash to secure business - particularly as they expand into new markets - had risen to 15 percent from 9 percent this year.
"Growth and ethical business conduct in today's markets can appear to be competing priorities," noted David Stulb, Global Leader of Ernst & Young's fraud investigation & disputes services practice.
"Our findings show that, as businesses continue to pursue opportunities in new markets, many executives are underestimating the risks. Boards need to put pressure on management to conduct more frequent and more robust anti-bribery/anti-corruption risk assessments."
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