News / Asia

Bangladeshi Micro Banker Faces Another Setback

Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus arrives in court for a hearing in Dhaka, March 7, 2011
Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus arrives in court for a hearing in Dhaka, March 7, 2011

Nobel Prize-winning microfinancier Mohammad Yunus is running out of options if he wants to stay on at the bank that made him famous.

The country's High Court upheld an order Tuesday for Yunus to step down as Grameen's managing director. The court agreed that theYunus, 70, violated Bangladesh's retirement laws by staying on past the age of 60. It also said proper procedures were not followed when he was appointed managing director in 1999.

Lawyers for Yunus say they expect to file one last appeal with the Bangladesh Supreme Court to allow Yunus to remain at Grameen Bank, which specializes in loans to the poor.

Monday, Yunus accused the government of trying to gain control of the microfinance bank in a political power play.

The central bank owns a 25 percent stake in Grameen Bank and the government has been attacking Yunus for alleged financial irregularities.

Related video report by Laurel Bowman


Yunus on Monday rejected those allegations and denied any political aspirations.

Yunus' supporters say his dismissal is also related to his decision to make a brief attempt to set up his own political party in 2007.

This past December, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accused Yunus of treating the bank as his personal property, and of robbing the poor.  

Yunus pioneered the concept of micro-credit, which involves granting loans as small as $27 to poor people to begin income-generating projects.  

He established the Grameen Bank three decades ago to provide those loans.  As the concept of micro-credit spread to many developing countries, he won international acclaim and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

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