The concept of corruption appears to have different shades of meaning, depending on the specific socio-cultural and historical contexts. Even within a particular society at a particular period of time, the concept may have a different meaning in the context of law, political science, religion, sociology or business. In essence, a corrupt practice is a special type of process or technique for influencing decision making. What distinguishes it from other influencing processes or techniques is the method by which the influence is effected. Every society accepts and legitimizes certain methods in the pursuit of individual interests and condemns others, ethically or legally. Duress, fraud and corruption belong to that latter category. In the international context, the primary concern is focused on three types of corrupt practices: those involving improper participation by foreign interests in the political process; payments to public officials either directly or through middlemen, in order to obtain favourable decisions; and 'facilitative' payments to achieve speedy action, which is not necessarily illegal. The dividing line between these categories of corrupt practices are not rigid ones and are often blurred.