DHAKA — Bangladesh's finance minister said Tuesday that Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus should "stay away" from the microcredit bank he founded while it is being investigated by the government.
It is the latest sign of friction between the pioneer of microfinance loans, whose legal woes are mounting, and the Bangladeshi government.
"I think it would have been better if Yunus had stayed away for some time (during the probe)... I don't think Yunus can run Grameen Bank throughout his life," Finance Minister A.M.A Muhith told the BBC's Bangla language service.
Yunus was summoned Tuesday by a court in Pabna, in the country's northwest, to appear on April 18 in a fraud case involving Grameen Bank's village phone programme. The probe into "irregularities" at the bank is a separate case.
The 70-year-old, who won the Nobel prize in 2006 for his work making small loans to poor entrepreneurs, has already been summoned to court twice in the last month in what many analysts describe as politically motivated cases.
Yunus appeared in a Dhaka court on January 27 after a city official lodged a case claiming yoghurt produced by a Grameen joint venture with French food giant Danone was contaminated.
Earlier in January, Yunus was summoned to court on charges of defamation dating back to 2007.
There has been speculation -- denied by the government -- that his troubles stem from personal differences with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The two fell out in 2007 when Yunus briefly proposed setting up a political party. Yunus could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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