Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina dropped a bombshell allegation—claiming that then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called her office and demanded that she snag a special job for a big Clinton Foundation donor.
Hasina confirmed to Circa that the call occurred in March 2011, when Clinton was still Secretary of State. Clinton demanded that Dr. Muhammed Yunus be restored to his role of chairman of one of Bangladesh’s largest microfinance banks, Grameen Bank.
Yunus had been removed from his post by the Bangladeshi government—saying that, at 72, he was well past the official mandatory retirement age of 60 and had been drawing a salary illegally for over a decade.
Hasina doesn’t make it clear whether or not Yunus told Clinton to make a call on his behalf, but he was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. Grameen America, the bank’s American-based nonprofit where Yunus was still the chairman, donated up to $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative. Another branch, Grameen Research, where Yunus was also chairman, donated as much as $50,000.
Yunus has since claimed that his ouster was the result of politics, but has not yet commented on whether or not he put financial pressure on Clinton to make a call on his behalf.
Hasina’s claims could be the smoking gun in the number of conflict of interest allegations that dogged the Clinton Foundation for years—and, arguably, helped cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.
If Hasina’s story is true, Hillary Clinton would have violated federal ethics law that requires her to recuse herself from matters involving her and her husband’s business interests.