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Nobel-Winning Micro-banker Free on Bail

Nobel Peace Prize winning Bangladeshi professor of economics and founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus (file photo –10 Jul 2010)

One of the world's most well-known micro-lenders is free on bail after appearing in a Bangladeshi court on defamation charges.

Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus went before a judge Tuesday in Mymensingh, a district about 100 kilometers north of the capital of Dhaka.

The judge released Yunus on bail, agreeing with his lawyers that the banker's duties prevent him from appearing in court every day.

Yunus is accused of defaming several Bangladeshi politicians in an interview with the French news agency in 2007. During the interview, Yunus was quoted as saying that politicians are only after money.

The lawsuit was filed by a low-ranking party official.

The next hearing is scheduled for February 20.

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.