Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that Clinton personally pressured her to help foundation donor to her husband’s charitable foundation. Federal ethics laws require government officials to recuse themselves from matters that could impact their spouse’s business. However, that was not the case with Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton called Hasina’s office in March 2011 to demand that Dr. Muhammed Yunus, a 2006 Nobel Peace prize winner, be restored to his role as chairman of the country’s most famous microcredit bank, Grameen Bank.
The bank’s nonprofit Grameen America, which Yunus chairs, has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative. Grameen Research, which is chaired by Yunus, has donated between $25,000 and $50,000, according to the Clinton Foundation website.
The prime minister informed Mrs. Clinton that based on Grameen Bank rules and regulations, nobody can hold the position of the Managing Director of Grameen Bank after the age of 60. He was 70 at the time of his removal and had wrangled for months to no avail with the prime minister over his removal.
Grameen Bank is part of a statutory body of the government and therefore is subject to the banking laws. Grameen Bank has been under investigation since 2012 by a commission set up by the Bangladesh government, for financial mismanagement.
Back in a 2013 interview, Yunus said he feared his ouster would put the bank he founded to help millions of impoverished people with microcredit under too much government control and alter its mission.
Mrs. Clinton’s newly disclosed call to reinstate Dr. Yunus marks one of the most direct involvements in an official government matter that impacted one of her husband’s donors. It may trigger new calls for a criminal investigation into the foundation’s activities.
Many people, including President Trump before the election, have made calls for a criminal investigation into the foundation and whether there was a pay-for-play, in which they donors allegedly received favors from the State Department during her tenure from 2009-2013.
As Mrs. Clinton was at the State Department she also voted to approve 20 percent sale of U.S. uranium production capacity to the Russian Atomic Energy Agency. The company donated $2.5 million to the Clinton Foundation while the deal was ongoing and before the deal was finalized President Bill Clinton was invited to Moscow and given $500,000 for a speech.
Declassified cables show that Mr. Yunus sought to use Mrs. Clinton’s power as secretary of state to pressure the Bangladesh government.
Dr. Yunus sent a personal email in 2009 to then Secretary of State Clinton’s office asking for intervention into the Bangladesh bank and stated his concerns.
The declassified cables show the U.S. ambassador also raised the issue with government officials prior to Mrs. Clinton’s call and that Mrs. Clinton asked State officials to alert her husband to the problems Yunus was having with Bangladesh.
Yunus received the Medal of Freedom in 2009, from President Obama, for his work in aiding the 150 million poor families receive financing and business loans through his microfinance program at the bank.
Sajeeb Wazed, the son of Prime Minister Hasina, and a permanent U.S. resident, says that between 2010 and 2012, he was repeatedly pressured to ask his mother to end the investigation into Mr. Yunus, and threatened with an audit or other action if he did not comply.