Hillary Clinton used her position in the State Department to award ‘disgraced’ Muhammad Yunus at least $13 million in grants, contracts and loans, despite his ouster from Grameen Bank in 2011, a Washington-based news portal says.
Her mixing of official work with Yunus and others is reportedly the focus of an FBI public corruption investigation, according to the report.
The Daily Caller News Foundation says its investigation revealed that the tax funds were given to Yunus through 18 separate USAID award transactions listed by the federal contracting site USAspending.gov.
The Grameen Bank founder, who shared the 2006 Nobel Peace prize with the bank, is close to the Clinton family for a long time. He was given the highest US civilian award in 2009 when Hillary was secretary of state.
Her reaction was sharp to the sacking of Yunus from Grameen Bank as its managing director on the grounds that he had crossed the official age limit in 2011, with the allegation of his siphoning off the bank’s fund in the backdrop.
He had challenged his dismissal in the Supreme Court but lost and has been at loggerheads with the Sheikh Hasina administration since.
Hasina has told several programmes that she had come under international pressure after the ouster of Yunus.
Leaked emails revealed Yunus desperately solicited Hillary Clinton’s help for ending his feud with the Hasina government over the control of the bank.
Yunus is also a Clinton Foundation donor, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF), which is a politically conservative news and opinion website based in Washington.
It published the report on Monday, headlined ‘Disgraced Clinton Donor Got $13M In State Dept Grants Under Hillary’.
The report highlighted “how Clinton mixed official government business with Clinton Foundation donors”.
Yunus gave between $100,000 and $300,000 to the foundation, it says, citing the Clinton Foundation website.
Groups allied to Yunus received an additional $11 million from USAID, it says citing the contracting website. “Yunus had business relationships with all of them”.
Last year, emails released from Clinton’s time as secretary of state suggested that Yunus had lobbied with her time and again to use her influence on the Bangladesh government to sway its opinion in his favour.
Hillary Clinton’s mixing of official work with foundation donors is reportedly the focus of a second, less publicised FBI public corruption investigation into the former secretary of state, according to the report.
The more widely known FBI probe focuses on her use of a private email server located in her New York residence to conduct official government business.
“Presumably, if The Daily Caller News Foundation has this information, then the FBI has it,” Robert T Hosko, former assistant director of the Bureau’s criminal division, was quoted as saying in the report.
“Certainly, the FBI would want to know the nature of these relationships,” he told TheDCNF.
The FBI declined to comment to the news portal, saying “we generally do not comment on whether or not we’re conducting a particular investigation”.
According to the report, Yunus is also a “high-profile fixture” at most of the Clinton Foundation’s major gatherings. The foundation features him at 37 places on its website.
David Bossie, President of the conservative activist group Citizens United and a long-time Clinton critic, has called for the FBI to look into possible conflicts of interest linked to the long association between Yunus and the Clintons.
“The mixing of State Department and U.S. government business with Clinton Foundation donors and interests is a prime example of what the FBI could be investigating in addition to the private email server setup,” Bossie told TheDCNF.
Clinton’s aid to Yunus also included 18 grants, contracts and loans awarded to two of his America-based foundations, the Grameen Foundation USA and Grameen America, according to USASpending.gov.
The awards, totalling $13 million, were issued by the USAID, beginning when Clinton became secretary of state. Another $11 million in federal funds went to organisations allied with Yunus, the report further states.
When asked to explain the Yunus grants and loans, USAID Spokesman Raphael Cook said the agency did not have the “manpower” to respond to questions about the transactions.
Other federal agencies also opened their coffers to Yunus after Clinton entered the administration, says the report.
The Department of Treasury awarded a $600,000 grant directly to Grameen America under a fund designed to boost financial institutions in community development.
A Treasury Department spokesman declined to provide any details, to the news portal, beyond the fact the funds were for activities in New York.
A series of Small Business Administration grants to Grameen America also began in July 2011, totalling $934,000.
Those grants were for “salaries and expenses” for the Grameen Foundation USA to operate its New York offices, according to the report.
Original Report by bdnews24.com, published on 19 April 2016