DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities yesterday widened a tax probe against 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, accusing seven enterprises he founded and chairs of evading taxes and under-reporting profits.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) made the allegations in a press briefing after the firms, including the country’s largest renewable energy company, said they have paid taxes regularly.
“The statements of the seven companies are not based on facts,” NBR chairman Ghulam Hussain said and added that the seven companies evaded taxes, obtained tax exemption benefits illegally and undereported profits
The firms are: Grameen Fisheries and Livestock Foundation, Grameen Capital Management, Grameen Communications, Grameen Shakti, Grameen Udyog, Grameen Trust and Grameen Kalyan.
Yunus founded the enterprises as sister organisations of his micro-finance pioneer Grameen Bank in an effort to cut poverty and boost up growth in rural areas. He is also the chairman of all seven enterprises.
The latest allegations come after the Bangladesh cabinet led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this week asked the tax administration, central bank and banking regulators to pursue legal action against Yunus for avoiding taxes on income from awards, book royalties and foreign tours.
Yunus’s office denied the allegations by the NBR, calling them “baseless”. It said the micro-credit pioneer had paid all taxes according to Bangladesh’s laws.