Nobel laureate Muham­mad Yunus handed $1.1m tax bill

Published July 25, 2023
Nobel laureate and microfinance pioneer Muham­mad Yunus. — Reuters/File
Nobel laureate and microfinance pioneer Muham­mad Yunus. — Reuters/File

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s top court has ordered Nobel laureate and microfinance pioneer Muham­mad Yunus to pay more than $1 million in taxes on a $7m donation made to three charitable trusts, lawyers said Monday.

Yunus, 83, is credited with lifting millions out of poverty with his pioneering micro-credit bank, but he has fallen out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has said he is “sucking blood” from the poor.

He was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work promoting economic development.

“The Supreme Court... dismissed our petition,” Yunus’ lawyer Sarder Jinnat Ali said.

The court, which upheld a decision by a lower court, ruled on Sunday that Yunus must pay as the law does not support tax exemptions for donations to trusts.

Yunus had donated 767m taka ($7m) to the Professor Muhammad Yunus Trust, the Yunus Family Trust and the Yunus Centre between 2011 and 2014.

The court ordered he pay a total tax bill of 150m taka ($1.4m), 30m taka of which he has already paid.

Yunus has been credited with helping eradicate extreme poverty in Bangla­desh by offering microfinance loans to tens of millions of rural women thro­ugh Grameen Bank, which he founded in the 1980s.

Bangladesh’s anti-graft watchdog last year ordered a wide-ranging probe into firms that Yunus chairs.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2023

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