Bangladesh has launched a corruption investigation into Nobel Peace Prize winner and microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus for embezzling a telecommunications company he heads.
Yunus, 82, has received international recognition for his efforts to eradicate poverty, but his reputation at home has been tarnished by a labor dispute and a longstanding feud with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
On Thursday, the country’s anti-corruption agency said it was investigating an economist and other board members of (GT) Grameen Telecom (GT) Grameen Telecom over allegations of embezzling a share of profits that should have gone. company employees.
The agency’s secretary, M. Mahbub Hussain, told reporters, “The Communications Board is also accused of laundering and embezzling 29.77 billion taka ($315 million) and stealing another $5 million earmarked for the Workers’ Welfare Fund,” while Yunus did not gave immediate comments.
The Labor Law of Bangladesh requires all companies to give 5% of profits to employees.
The investigation comes just months after (GT) agreed to pay $50 million to settle a longstanding legal dispute between disgruntled employees who filed more than 100 lawsuits alleging they were denied payment.
Yunus is the founding chairman of Grameen Telecom, which owns a multi-billion dollar stake in Bangladesh’s largest mobile operator.
He is credited with helping eradicate extreme poverty in Bangladesh by providing microfinance loans to tens of millions of rural women through the Grameen Bank he founded in the 1980s.
Yunus was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in promoting economic development, and in 2011 he was forced to step down as CEO of Grameen Bank due to his supporters blaming a conflict with Prime Minister Hasina.
Yunus later lost an appeal of his dismissal in the courts and Hasina criticized him and accused him of “sucking the blood” of the poor at high interest rates, blaming him for the World Bank’s decision to cancel a planned $1.2 billion loan to build a bridge near the capital Dhaka.
Yunus has consistently denied influencing the decision of the lender on the project, which was embroiled in a bribery scandal.
The bridge finally opened last month after years of construction delays, and Hasina took the opportunity to say that Younes must “dive into the river” to jeopardize its completion.