Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus released on bail in a corruption case in Bangladesh

A court in Bangladesh has released Nobel Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus on bail in a $2.3 million embezzlement case.

Dhaka (Bangladesh) – A Bangladeshi court on Sunday released Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus on bail in a $2.3 million embezzlement case.

Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for pioneering the use of microcredit to help the poor, was sentenced to six months in prison in January on a separate charge of violating labor laws. He was granted bail in this case as well and appealed the ruling.

Prosecutor Mir Ahmed Ali Salam said the embezzlement case concerns the workers' welfare fund of Grameen Telecom, which owns 34.2% of the country's largest mobile phone company, Grameenphone, and is a subsidiary of Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor.

“The charges include embezzlement of more than 250 million taka and money laundering. The accused gave the money to trade union leaders instead of workers. In this way they deprived ordinary workers of their legitimate earnings,” Salam said.

Younis and seven other defendants appeared in court on Sunday, while six others were absent.

Defense lawyer Abdullah Al-Mamoun told the court that Younis (83 years old) and the others are innocent.

Last year, more than 170 world leaders and Nobel laureates urged Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to suspend legal proceedings against Yunus. His supporters say he was targeted because of his frosty relations with Hasina. The government denied these accusations.

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