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Corruption a threat to national security - Russian presidential staff

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) - The scope of corruption in Russia undermines the country's international standing and is a threat to national security, the presidential administration stated.

"The level of corruption is causing serious concern in the Russian public. It accounts for Russia's negative image in the world arena and is reasonably seen as a threat to national security," head of the presidential staff's personnel and state awards department Vladimir Osipov said.

The number of crimes against civil service and national interests grew by 13% last year and totaled 41,000, Osipov told senior officials of the federal prosecutor's Investigation Committee in Moscow on Thursday.

Bribe taking among officials grew by 7%, he said.

The Council of Europe's experts in fighting corruption recommended that the professional level of Russian investigators be enhanced, Osipov said. He said a national plan to prevent corruption, confirmed by the president, was adopted in Russia.

Corporate raiding must be combated more rigorously "as it lowers the volume of investment in the economy and slows the rate of development," Osipov said.