Yoghurt lands Nobel winner Yunus in Dhaka court again

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Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus appeared in court on Thursday in the latest legal trouble for the pioneer of microfinance loans -- this time over claims of contaminated yoghurt.

Yunus, who won the Nobel for his work making small loans to poor entrepreneurs, appeared in a different court case last week on charges of defamation dating back to 2007. He also faces a government probe into his bank.

His legal woes in Bangladesh have led to speculation -- denied by the government -- that they stem from personal differences with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The two fell out in 2007 when Yunus briefly proposed setting up a political party, a year after he won the Peace Prize.

On Thursday, Yunus was in court after a Dhaka municipal official filed a case claiming Shakti Doi, a yoghurt produced by French food giant Danone and Yunus's Grameen Bank, was unsafe.

"Following a summons by the court, I appeared today and was given bail and exempted from further personal appearances," Yunus told reporters after leaving the hearing.

His lawyer said the case was based on "false and baseless" allegations that the yoghurt was adulterated and posed a threat to public health.

The yoghurt is made by a joint venture between Danone and Grameen Bank.

Danone and Yunus's bank have a 50 percent stake each in a one-million-dollar plant that is designed to make nutritious food for poor people.

© 2011 AFP

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