The Bangladesh Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a High Court order confirming the central bank's decision to remove Muhammad Yunus as Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, bringing to an end a bitter battle between the government and the Nobel laureate.

A seven-member full bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice A.B.M. Khairul Haque turned down Dr. Yunus' appeal against the High Court order.

The High Court had on March 8 upheld the central bank order that said Grameen Bank failed to seek its approval when Dr. Yunus was reappointed as MD in 2000, violating one of the statutes of the partly state-owned Grameen Bank.

The High Court had found that the micro-finance institution's board had not obtained the Bangladesh Bank's sanction to re-appoint Dr. Yunus (70), beyond the bank's official retirement age of 60. Dr. Yunus had argued that Grameen Bank had been given special status and it was exempt from the rule.

The removal of Dr. Yunus drew flak at home and abroad with the U.S. strongly criticising government's handling of the affair, warning that ties with Bangladesh could be affected if a solution was not found.

Dr. Yunus and the Grameen Bank, joint winners of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, came under the spotlight after a Norwegian television documentary claimed in December last year that Dr. Yunus diverted nearly $100 million of grant money in 1996 to another company — Grameen Kalyan — which was not involved in micro-credit operations.

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