An internal US enquiry found no evidence of Hillary Clinton-led State Department pressurizing Bangladeshi government to drop its investigation into Muhammad Yunus case.
The investigation was carried out after a senior Republican Senator wrote a letter to the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the State Department, under Hillary Clinton, had pressurized the Bangladeshi government to drop its case against the Nobel laureate.
“The department completed its review of records and informed the Congressional Oversight Committee that we have no record of any communication or action to support the allegations that the department had pressurized the government of Bangladesh to drop its investigation into Muhammad Yunus,” a State Department Spokesperson said.
A similar response is believed to have been sent to Chuck Grassley, the senior US Senator from Iowa, who in June last year had asked the State Department for information on whether the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff sought help through official channels for Yunus, who was a donor to the Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation.
In his letter, Grassley wrote that reports indicate that State Department officials threatened Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s US resident son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit if he did not attempt to get his mother to terminate the investigation.
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“On May 11, 2017, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina confirmed that Clinton called her office in March, 2011 and demanded that Yunus be restored to his position as the chairman of Grameen Bank,” wrote Grassley.
“This new evidence of pay-to-play and special treatment reinforces the appearance that donations to the Clinton Foundation resulted in favourable treatment by Secretary Clinton’s State Department.”
Grassley, in the letter, also posed a series of questions to Tillerson in this regard.
“Did any State Department official directly or indirectly suggest Joy might suffer any consequences, including an IRS audit, in relation to the Bangladesh investigation?”
“Has this matter been referred to the Inspector General or Department of Justice for review? If not, why?”
Grassley said that according to Joy, he had a number of interactions with high-level State Department officials from 2010-2012.
“He [Joy] recalled that in almost every meeting the Yunus investigation would inevitably come up and that he faced pressure to end the investigation,” Grassley added.
This article was published on banglatribune.com