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Bangladeshi Court Asks Nobel Laureate To Pay $4.5M In Outstanding Taxes

13.02.2024 04:42

Verdict comes after Muhammad Yunus was barred by court from leaving Bangladesh without permission.

A court in Dhaka ruled Monday that Bangladesh's sole Nobel laureate, Muhammad Yunus, must pay $4.5 million in outstanding taxes to the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

This comes after the court rejected a petition filed by officials of Grameen Telecom Trust, founded by the economist, which sought an order for depositing only 25% of the amount.

The verdict follows Yunus's recent conviction for violating labor laws in a case his supporters say was politically motivated.

Earlier this month, the High Court also barred him from leaving the country without prior permission.

The tax case stems from 2020, when the NBR demanded around $25 million in income tax from Grameen Telecom Trust for the period 2011-2013.The Trust argued financial hardship and sought a waiver, but both requests were denied.

Reports then emerged suggesting the Trust had significant funds, leading the NBR to request access. In response, the Trust challenged the legality of the demand in the High Court, which ultimately ruled against them.

Yunus, 83, currently faces around 168 cases in different courts, including alleged tax evasion and misappropriation of profits, with independent observers attributing many to harassment.Last month, a court handed down a six-month prison sentence to Yunus and three of his colleagues for allegedly violating the country's labor laws. They got bail, however, as the verdict was appealed in a higher court.

Despite his renowned work in microfinance and poverty alleviation, Yunus has faced criticism from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has accused him of exploiting the poor.

The tense relationship has fueled several public attacks against the internationally respected laureate. Over 100 global leaders and fellow laureates have urged the Bangladeshi government to cease its actions against Yunus multiple times.

Last September, Amnesty International condemned the criminal charges against Yunus and his colleagues as a "politically motivated misuse of the justice system," arguing these issues should be handled through civil or administrative processes.

Yunus, a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist and civil society leader, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for founding Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. The loans are given to entrepreneurs who are too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. -

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