Nobel Winner Hit With Banking Probe
Supporters say Muhammad Yunus was targeted for activism
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Aug 3, 2012 9:58 AM CDT
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus: 'Disheartened.'   (AP Photo/MTI, Peter Kollanyi)

(Newser) – A Nobel laureate honored for fighting poverty with revolutionary microloans is now the target of a government probe. The Bangladeshi Cabinet has ordered an investigation to determine if Muhammad Yunus was illegally benefiting from a tax exemption while he was managing director of the Grameen Bank, and to find how much money he made in salaries and allowances while head of the bank. Yunus, 71, was forced out as bank chief last year.

Yunus said he was shocked by the move, and that he has always feared the government, which owns 25% of the bank, would try to take over Grameen, reports CNN. "Now my apprehension has started to become a reality. I am so disheartened that I am unable to express my feelings," said Yunus. Supporters believe he is being targeted because he has criticized leaders and tried to form his own political party. He and the bank won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for extending microcredit to people who would not qualify for standard bank loans. The operation has been used as a model for many other lending institutions to help fight poverty.