Crime & Justice

Bangladesh Nobel winner Yunus grilled on corruption charges

Dhaka, Oct 5 (EFE).- Bangladesh’s anti-graft body on Thursday interrogated Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus for over an hour for allegedly misappropriating over 250 million takas (some $2.35 million) from a telecom workers’ welfare fund.

Yunus came to the headquarters of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Dhaka’s Segun Bagicha flanked by his lawyers and colleagues.

“I have come here since I was asked. I have nothing to add. It is a legal matter. The legal team will see it,” Yunus told reporters after his interrogation ended.

Defence lawyer Abdullah Al Mamun told EFE that the Nobel laureate had to shorten his recent trip to the United States to respond to the summons.

“He was visiting the US when he was informed of the ACC notice on Sep 27. He then cancelled all his programs and returned home. He did this because he has respect for the law,” he said.

Yunus has denied the allegations against him.

The lawyer confirmed that it was the first time the Nobel laureate faced this kind of interrogation outside the court.

The ACC claimed in May that Yunus and 12 others from Grameen Telecom, which he headed, had embezzled funds.

The agency launched the probe against Yunus and others in 2022 following a complaint from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments.

Yunus has been facing over 170 cases on allegations of corruption, money laundering, tax dodging, and labor law violations.

In an open letter on Aug.28 to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 176 global leaders, including ex-US President Barack Obama, ex-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and more than 100 Nobel laureates, expressed concern at “continuous judicial harassment” against Yunus.

Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, along with the Grameen Bank he founded in 1976.

Bangladesh authorities removed him as Grameen Bank managing director in 2011. Grameen Telecom and Grameen Bank are two separate organizations.

Yunus has maintained a tense relationship with the Bangladeshi authorities since a documentary appeared in 2010 that denounced alleged transfers of illegal funds between the two entities in the Grameen Group.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina has criticized Yunus for allegedly influencing the World Bank to cancel funding for the construction of a mega bridge project, an allegation he denied. EFE

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