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Nobel laureate a tax cheat, Bangladesh says

DHAKA, Bangladesh — The Bangladesh government has ordered legal action against the country’s Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, accusing him of evading taxes on overseas income, including from book royalties, speeches at conferences, and numerous awards. Yunus, 73, denied the allegations late Monday.

Cabinet Secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters that the decision came after a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, discussed a report submitted by the National Board of Revenue on alleged tax irregularities by Yunus. He did not say what legal action would be taken.

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Yunus was ousted in 2011 as managing director of the pioneering small-loan provider Grameen Bank after the High Court ruled that he violated retirement laws by serving beyond the age of 60.

Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith on Monday alleged that Yunus received tax exemptions for being a government servant, as the chief executive of a statutory body between 2004 and 2011, but did not have the proper permission to do so from authorities.

He alleged that eight companies owned by Yunus, and not by Grameen Bank, had obtained tax benefits in the name of the bank.

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