Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus was battling to keep his job as the head of his pioneering microfinance bank on Tuesday after Bangladesh’s central bank said he had passed retirement age and had to go.
Bangladesh Bank sent a letter to the finance ministry saying that Yunus, who won the Nobel peace prize in 2006 for his work making small loans to poor entrepreneurs, should be removed from the Grameen Bank he founded.
The latest verdict adds to pressure on the 70-year-old to step down, following an earlier demand from finance minister A M A Muhith for Yunus to “stay away” from the bank.
Muhith, who met US ambassador James Moriarty on Monday to discuss Yunus, told AFP Tuesday that the government intended to deal with the banker "gracefully."
“They (the United States) told us that he is a respected personality and they want us to treat him with respect. We told them that Yunus is a pride of Bangladesh,” said Muhith.
The finance minister said the government had received the opinion from the central bank that Yunus had been “illegally” staying as the chief executive of the Grameen Bank.