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Bangladesh's Grameen Bank Denies Wrongdoing


Muhammad Yunus, an economist from Bangladesh who founded the Grameen Bank and won a Nobel Peace Prize, is seen at the end of a press conference in Paris, France (2008 file photo)

Muhammad Yunus, an economist from Bangladesh who founded the Grameen Bank and won a Nobel Peace Prize, is seen at the end of a press conference in Paris, France (2008 file photo)

Grameen Bank, the Bangladeshi micro-lending institution, has denied any wrongdoing in the transfer of millions of dollars of aid money.

A documentary, that aired earlier this week on Norwegian television, alleged funds were transferred from the bank to a Grameen subsidiary.

Norway says it is reviewing the transfer of some $100 million of aid to Grameen Kalyan, a separate company, which is not involved in micro-credit operations.

Grameen Bank said in a statement the documentary report about the 1996 transaction is "inaccurate and misleading."

The bank said the concerns of the Norwegian government and an aid group "were treated with the utmost seriousness" at the time. It said both sides had worked to resolve the "differing interpretation" of a clause in their agreement.

The bank's statement included an excerpt from a letter from Noway's ambassador to Bangladesh, Hans Fredrik Lehne, about the financial transaction that says the embassy is pleased to have arrived at a "satisfactory" solution for both Grameen Bank and the embassy.

Grameen Bank provides credit, without any collateral, to people it describes as "the poorest of the poor" in rural Bangladesh.

The bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

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