Corruption Perceptions Index: Scandal-hit Spain drops 10 places in global corruption rankings led by Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan

Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan are the most corrupt regions according to Transparency International

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Spain has dropped 10 places to a rank of 40 in a global index of corruption following a string of scandals involving the country's centre-right ruling party and members of the royal family, according to watchdog Transparency International.

In the annual Corruption Perceptions Index, Spain was also the second-biggest loser of points, alongside Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Libya, only topped by war-torn Syria.

Spain has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals involving allegations against high-profile figures from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to King Juan Carlos' son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, as the country battles mass unemployment and tough austerity measures.

Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan led the ranking of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world with a score of 8 out of 100, closely followed by Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Syria, engulfed in a brutal civil since 2011.

In stark contrast, the NGO rewarded New Zealand and Denmark with an almost perfect score of 98 out of 100.

The UK jumped to14th place with a score of 76, moving up two places from last year. The United States stayed unchanged with a score of 73, while Russia saw a slight improvement, climbing 6 positions to to the 127th place.

Myanmar, which has benefited from a gradual easing of sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union, saw the biggest improvement moving up 14 places.

Uruguay was the only Latin American country to reach the top 20, beating France and Austria with a score of 73 out of 100.

Overall, Europe was the least corrupt region, with Eastern Europe and central Asia seen as the most corrupt.

The annual index ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived on a scale of 0 - 100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean.

Least corrupt: (score out of 100):

Denmark 91

New Zealand 91

Finland 89

Sweden 89

Norway 86

Singapore 86

Switzerland 85

Netherlands 83

Australia 81

Canada 81

Most corrupt (score out of 100) :

Somalia 8

North Korea 8

Afghanistan 8

Sudan 11

South Sudan 15

Libya 16

Iraq 16

Uzbekistan 17

Turkmenistan 17

Syria 17

Hamid Karzai (President of Afghanistan), Omar al-Bashir (President of Sudan) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (President of Somalia) (Getty Images)