Washington: Expressing concern over reports of tax evasion case against Noble laureate Muhammad Yunus, the United States has requested the Bangladeshi Government to ensure a fair and transparent treatment for the Grameen Bank founder in accordance with the law.
"We are concerned about recent reports that the Government of Bangladesh may pursue a tax evasion case against Dr. Yunus," the State Department said in a statement yesterday.
It said the US has long admired and supported Professor Yunus`s significant achievements in improving the lives of Bangladesh`s most vulnerable citizens, particularly women.
"We urge the Government of Bangladesh to treat Dr. Yunus in a fair and transparent manner, in keeping with Bangladeshi law and the principles of due process," the department said.
The US supports the continued independence, effectiveness, and integrity of Grameen Bank as an institution that promotes the welfare and development of Bangladesh`s most vulnerable people, particularly women, it said.
"We also support the continuation of the Bank`s unique governance structure. We look forward to the selection of a highly qualified and acceptable managing director and a new chairman who are committed to sustaining the Bank’s success," it said.
The department noted that Grameen Bank is an engine of social entrepreneurship and prosperity for millions of Bangladeshis, and has an impressive track record improving the lives of the poor, especially women and girls.
"An astonishing 96 per cent of its 8.3 million borrowers are women. Grameen Bank has played a pioneering role not only in developing micro-finance as an economic model but in empowering ordinary people to lift themselves out of poverty and into a better life," it said.
A Bangladesh minister had alleged the eight companies owned by Yunus had obtained tax benefits in the name of the Grameen Bank.
Yunus, in a statement, claimed he did not breach any law.
"Grameen Bank was created by a special law. The board of directors holds absolute power under the law. Whatever Professor Yunus did, he did with the permission and consent of this powerful board," the statement said.