Founder Yunus leaves Grameen Bank

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Mohammed Yunus, the founder and chief executive of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has handed his position over to his deputy, Nurjahan Begum.

Mr Yunus and his bank, which supplies microfinancing to beginning enterpreneurs in cash-strapped Bangladesh, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

The authorities in Bangladesh ordered the 70-year-old businessman to step down because he had reached the obligatory retirement age. That resulted in a legal battle which was lost by Yunus.

Political play
When he handed in his resignation, Mr Yunus said in doing so he hoped to "prevent undue disruption of the activities of Grameen Bank and to ensure my colleagues and our eight million members, and owners of the bank, are not subjected to any difficulty in discharging their responsibilities."

The Nobel Prize winner's associates say he has become the victim of political play, and claim that his resignation is not because of his age.

Mr Yunus, often called "the banker of the poor", has been on poor terms with the Bengal prime minister Sheikh Hasina. Their quarrel began with Mr Yunus' 2007 plans to found a political party.

In a Norwegian TV documentary in December Mr Yunus was accused of having siphoned off 65 million euros of aid intended for the Grameen Bank. The Bangladesh government later denied that accusation.

The Dacca government owns 25 percent of Grameen Bank, which has 24,000 employees and 8 million clients.


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