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Rishi Sunak's billionaire heiress wife claimed non-dom status

Akshata Murty, who is believed to be worth hundreds of billions of pounds, held non-dom status. This means her permanent home is considered outside of the UK and, although she is still liable for UK tax on income made in this country, she does not have to pay UK tax on foreign income unless it is brought into the UK

Rishi Sunak’s wife has been claiming ‘non-dom’ status, meaning she could save on her UK tax bill while living in Downing Street, it emerged last night.

Akshata Murthy, the daughter of an Indian billionaire said to be worth £3.5billion, could have saved millions of pounds over several years through the arrangement.

She is registered as non-domiciled for UK tax purposes, a legal way to avoid paying taxes in Britain on overseas income.

A spokeswoman for the Chancellor’s wife said: ‘Akshata Murthy is a citizen of India, the country of her birth and parents’ home.

‘India does not allow its citizens to hold the citizenship of another country simultaneously.

‘So according to British law, Ms Murthy is treated as non-domiciled for UK tax purposes. She has always and will continue to pay UK taxes on all her UK income.’

Miss Murthy used the valuable tax status as recently as April 2020, two months after her husband was made Chancellor, the Independent reported. A source close to Mr Sunak said: ‘Neither of them has done anything wrong and she has complied fully with UK law. They have both followed the rules to the letter.

‘The Treasury has known about this all the time he has been there and when he became a junior minister in 2018, he went out of his way to provide extra disclosure to the Cabinet Office that was not strictly required.’

The revelation – on the day Mr Sunak hiked taxes for millions of workers – prompted Labour to claim it was ‘yet another example of the Tories thinking it is one rule for them – another for everyone else’.

The annual charge for gaining non-dom status in the UK ranges from £30,000 to £60,000 depending on how long a citizen has lived in the country.

It is understood that Miss Murthy has been living in the UK for nine years. The couple, who now have two daughters, met at university in California and were married in 2009.

Akshata Murty, who is believed to be worth hundreds of billions of pounds, held non-dom status. This means her permanent home is considered outside of the UK and, although she is still liable for UK tax on income made in this country, she does not have to pay UK tax on foreign income unless it is brought into the UK

Akshata Murty, who is believed to be worth hundreds of billions of pounds, held non-dom status. This means her permanent home is considered outside of the UK and, although she is still liable for UK tax on income made in this country, she does not have to pay UK tax on foreign income unless it is brought into the UK

Ms Murthy used the valuable tax status as recently as April 2020, two months after her husband was made Chancellor

Ms Murthy used the valuable tax status as recently as April 2020, two months after her husband was made Chancellor

Rishi became a household name after he married Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the billionaire founder of a staggeringly successful IT company. Pictured: The couple at their wedding with Murthy's billionaire parents

Rishi became a household name after he married Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the billionaire founder of a staggeringly successful IT company. Pictured: The couple at their wedding with Murthy’s billionaire parents

Rishi Sunak's net score has dipped six points over the past week as a poll laid bare the political damage from the cost-of-living crisis

Rishi Sunak’s net score has dipped six points over the past week as a poll laid bare the political damage from the cost-of-living crisis

They lived abroad before Mr Sunak was elected MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire in 2015.

Mr Sunak is said to have declared his wife’s tax status when he became a minister in 2018 and the Treasury was also made aware so any potential conflicts could be managed.

The UK tax rate for dividends is just under 40 per cent for the highest earners, while the highest rate of income tax is 45 per cent.

This is higher than dividend rates for Indian companies, where they are taxed at between 10 and 20 per cent depending on resident status. Income tax in India is 30 per cent.

Details of Miss Murthy’s exact tax status are not yet known. It is understood she pays foreign taxes on her foreign income.

Last week, Mr Sunak hit back at ‘upsetting’ criticism of his wife and father-in-law over her family firm’s links to Russia.

He expressed his anger at media coverage of his wife’s shares in Indian IT giant Infosys, which was founded by her billionaire father Narayana.

The Chancellor joked that, unlike Will Smith at the Oscars, he ‘didn’t get up and slap anybody’. But he warned people not to ‘come at my wife’.

Infosys, an IT and consultancy firm, was criticised for continuing operations in Moscow before bowing to pressure last week and closing its Russian office.

Mr Sunak was widely criticised for failing to scrap the 1.25 percentage-point increase in national insurance in the Spring Statement, which came into force yesterday.

The Prime Minister yesterday admitted that households will have to make ‘tough choices’ as the cost-of-living crisis bites but defended the tax hike as ‘unquestionably the right thing’.

Shadow economic secretary to the Treasury Tulip Siddiq said last night: ‘The Chancellor has imposed tax hike after tax hike on the British people.

‘It is staggering that at the same time his family may have been benefiting from tax-reduction schemes. This is yet another example of the Tories thinking it is one rule for them, another for everyone else.

‘Rishi Sunak must now urgently explain how much he and his family have saved on their own tax bill at the same time he was putting taxes up for millions of working families and choosing to leave them £2,620-a-year worse off.’

Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murthy are listed as 'Wykeham benefactors' in the magazine of the school - where he was head boy

Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murthy are listed as ‘Wykeham benefactors’ in the magazine of the school – where he was head boy

Ms Murty is listed on LinkedIn as being director of capital and private equity firm Catamaran Ventures, gym chain Digme Fitness, and gentlemen’s outfitters New and Lingwood.

She is also reported to hold a 0.91% stake in Infosys, which was founded by her now billionaire father.

Infosys is closing its Moscow office after facing pressure to end operations in the country amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  

Tech giant Infoysys is one of India’s largest companies and has a presence in about 50 countries.

It set up an engineering centre in Moscow in 2016 where it is thought that up to 100 people were employed.  

Despite many global IT firms suspending operations in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, Infosys had kept what it has described as a ‘small team’ there until now, according to the BBC.

But in a recent statement, the company had said: ‘We do not have any active business relationships with local Russian enterprises.’ 

Mr Sunak and his wife Ms Murthy had faced questions over her shares in the firm, founded by her father NR Narayana Murthy. 

Labour and the Liberal Democrats had both called for Mr Sunak to answer questions over the issue.

In the Commons, a Labour shadow minister was forced to withdraw a claim that Mr Sunak was ‘hypocritical’ because of his family’s shares in the company.

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘So far as the Chancellor’s wife is concerned, there’s just a fundamental principle, is their household benefiting from money made in Russia when the Government has put in place sanctions?’  

It comes after it was revealed yesterday that Sunak and his wife gave more than £100,000 to top public school Winchester.

The Chancellor and Akshata Murthy are listed as ‘Wykeham benefactors’ in the magazine of the school – where he was head boy. 

It comes amid a cost of living squeeze in Britain, with Mr Sunak accused of failing to do enough to help struggling families

The magazine for the school – which has annual fees of £43,335 a year or £14,445 a term – includes the Sunaks in a list of people ‘whose total donations to Winchester College (including pledges) are greater than £100,000’.

Mr Sunak has been accused of failing to do enough to help struggling families in his Spring Statement a fortnight ago.

He was branded an ‘illusionist’ after hailing his ‘tax-cutting’ moves, despite the burden being on course to reach the highest level since the 1940s. 

The government’s own watchdog has predicted that this year will see the biggest fall in disposable incomes since records began in the 1950s. 

There are claims Mr Sunak is already having to draw up a new support package, as he struggles to keep a lid on the UK’s £2.3trillion debt mountain and rising interest payments. 

He was also ridiculed for photo-ops after the mini-Budget, including posing putting fuel into a Kia Rio owned by a Sainsbury’s staff member. 

Rishi Sunak’s wife is richer than the Queen: Tech billionaire’s daughter who he met while studying at Stanford has shares in family’s firm are worth £430million – making her one of Britain’s wealthiest women

Rishi Sunak’s wife has shares in her family’s tech firm that are worth £430million, making her one of Britain’s wealthiest women and richer than the Queen. 

Akshata Murthy and her relatives hold a multimillion pound portfolio of shareholdings which have come to light amid questions over the Chancellor, who met his future wife while studying at Stanford University, California, failing to declare them in the register of ministers’ interests last year.

The assets make Indian-born Akshata richer than the Queen, who is estimated to be worth £350million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. 

She is the daughter of one of the richest men in India – billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy – who has been described as the father of the Indian IT sector and ‘one of the 12 greatest businessmen of all time’. 

Sunak is the son of a GP father and pharmacist mother who emigrated to Southampton from East Africa in the 1960s, and he studied at Oxford University before winning a Fulbright scholarship to Stanford where the future husband and wife met.  

The latest revelation comes after Sunak faced demands to reveal details of his financial interests last month, after it emerged he set up a ‘blind trust’ when he was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July last year.

But critics said there was still risk of conflict as Sunak – reputed to be the richest MP – is aware what he put into the trust. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's wife Akshata Murthy (pictured together at their wedding) has shares in her family's tech business worth £430million, making her richer than the Queen

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy (pictured together at their wedding) has shares in her family’s tech business worth £430million, making her richer than the Queen

He became a household name after he married Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the billionaire founder of a staggeringly successful IT company. Pictured: The couple at their wedding with Murthy's parents

He became a household name after he married Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the billionaire founder of a staggeringly successful IT company. Pictured: The couple at their wedding with Murthy’s parents

Sunak’s wife is the daughter of an entrepreneur in India, co-founding technology company Infosys – in which she owns 0.91 per cent shares, totalling £430million. 

Her family are also have a joint venture with Amazon worth £900million a year and shares in the firm running Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian and burger chain Wendy’s in India. 

Before becoming Chancellor, Sunak was better known in India than he was in Britain, after he became a household name when he married Akshata, the daughter of a self-made billionaire. 

Akshata’s father is the 51st richest man in India and ranks at 1135 in the world’s billionaire list, according to Forbes. 

The father-of-two from Bangalore, India, graduated with a science Master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology before becoming the co-founder and chairman of Infosys. 

He spent 30 years at the company before resigning in 2011, coming back in 2013 to pass the management to a CEO in 2014.

The tech giant was worth around £2billion when Southampton-born Sunak travelled on a Fulbright scholarship to Stanford University in California, where he met his future wife after taking Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford.

It is today valued at around £33.3billion, with Mr Murphy’s real-time net worth estimated at around £2.3billion ($3.1bn) at the time of writing. 

According to his company profile, Mr Murthy, whose wife, Sudha, works as an author, is currently on the boards of Ford Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey and the United Nations Foundation.

He has also served on the boards of Cornell University, Wharton School, the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and the Rhodes Trust at Oxford, alongside Yale University’s international advisory board.

On its website, Infosys says that Mr Murthy ‘introduced the concept of the 24-hour work day to the world’.

It states: ‘Mr Murthy conceptualized, articulated and implemented the Global Delivery Model (GDM) which has become the backbone of the Indian software industry. 

‘GDM is based on collaborative distributed software development principles and has resulted in the delivery of superior quality software to global customers delivered on time and within budget. Mr Murthy also introduced the concept of the 24-hour work day to the world.

‘Under Mr. Murthy’s leadership, Infosys became the leader in innovation in technical, managerial and leadership training, software technology, quality, productivity, customer focus, employee satisfaction, and physical and technological infrastructure.’

It was revealed last month that when taking on ministerial duties the Chancellor set up a 'blind trust', meaning he did not know where his assets were being invested. Pictured: Sunak with his wife, Akshata, and their children Krishna and Anoushka

It was revealed last month that when taking on ministerial duties the Chancellor set up a ‘blind trust’, meaning he did not know where his assets were being invested. Pictured: Sunak with his wife, Akshata, and their children Krishna and Anoushka

Sunak is locally he is dubbed the 'Maharaja of the Dales' (pictured, their magnificent Georgian manor in North Yorkshire)

Sunak is locally he is dubbed the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’ (pictured, their magnificent Georgian manor in North Yorkshire)

Rishi Sunak, pictured with his wife Akshata Murthy, was better known in India than Britain before he became Chancellor

Rishi Sunak, pictured with his wife Akshata Murthy, was better known in India than Britain before he became Chancellor

After taking a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, Southampton-born Sunak travelled on a Fulbright scholarship to Stanford University in California where met his future wife (pictured with her family, second from right)

After taking a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, Southampton-born Sunak travelled on a Fulbright scholarship to Stanford University in California where met his future wife (pictured with her family, second from right)

Murthy’s Millions: Akshata’s family business portfolio 

  • Combined shareholding in tech firm Infosys worth £1.7billion
  • Joint venture with Amazon, Cloudtail, in India worth £900m-a-year
  • Shareholding in UK firm which runs Jamie’s Italian restaurants and burger chain Wendy’s in India
  • Also holds shares in Koru Kids and is director of Digme Fitness 
  • Murthy is a shareholder or director in five other UK companies, including Mayfair outfitter which makes Eton College pupils’ tailcoats costing £2,500 each 
  • Akshata is also listed as a director of the UK arm of software company, Soroco, co-founded by her brother 
  • Investment firm Catamaran Ventures owned by father N. R. Narayana Murthy
  • Ms Murthy runs fashion label Akshata Designs 

Sunak and Akshata married in 2009 in her home city of Bangalore in a two-day ceremony attended by 1,000 guests. 

Before entering politics, Mr Sunak, who is now a multi-millionaire in his own right, studied at the £42,000-per-year Winchester College and later at Oxford University. 

During his time in business, he worked in California, India and Britain for various investment firms including Goldman Sachs. 

He later set up his own business, Theleme Partners, in 2010 with an initial fund of £536million. 

While building the hedge fund he spent a couple of days doing voluntary work for the Conservatives – which was when he decided he would like to go into politics full-time. 

Speaking about his decision to go into politics, he once explained: ‘It was my parents who motivated me, but not in a political way.

‘My dad was a GP, my mum a pharmacist, and I grew up working in their surgery; in the pharmacy; delivering medicines to people who couldn’t pick them up.

‘People would always stop and talk to me about my mum and dad, saying, ‘Oh, you’re Mrs Sunak’s son, Dr Sunak’s son.’ And then they’d have some story about how my parents had helped them, or their parents, or children, and I thought that was amazing.

‘They had done the same job in the same place for 30 years, and it was clear that they as individuals were able to have an amazing impact on the community around us, and that I found pretty inspiring. And that was my motivation for becoming an MP.’

Every year Sunak and his wife throw a summer garden party for local villagers at their magnificent Georgian £1.5million manor house in Kirby Sigston, just outside Northallerton, Yorkshire – leading to him being dubbed the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’.  

Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the Chancellor appeared to have ‘taken the most minimalist approach possible’ to divulging information.

He told The Guardian: ‘Perhaps Rishi Sunak should carefully read the “Seven principles of Public Life” to make sure he is fulfilling the two principles of “Honesty and Leadership”.’ 

But a Treasury spokesman said Mr Sunak had ‘followed the ministerial code to the letter in his declaration of interests’.

It follows Mr Sunak facing demands to reveal details of his financial interests last month, after it emerged he set up a ‘blind trust’ on becoming a minister.

The Chancellor deployed the arrangement, meaning that he does not know how his assets are being invested, when he was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July last year.

By setting up the 'blind trust' it means he does not have to disclose fuller details of his investment portfolio. Pictured: Sunak with his wife and children during the recent election

By setting up the ‘blind trust’ it means he does not have to disclose fuller details of his investment portfolio. Pictured: Sunak with his wife and children during the recent election 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is pictured with his wife, Akshata, and their two children during a Santa run

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is pictured with his wife, Akshata, and their two children during a Santa run 

The couple married in 2009 in her home city of Bangalore in a two-day ceremony attended by 1,000 guests

The couple married in 2009 in her home city of Bangalore in a two-day ceremony attended by 1,000 guests 

Before entering politics, Mr Sunak, who is now a multi-millionaire in his own right and a graduate of £42,000-per-year Winchester College and Oxford University graduate

Before entering politics, Mr Sunak, who is now a multi-millionaire in his own right and a graduate of £42,000-per-year Winchester College and Oxford University graduate 

But critics said there was still risk of conflict as Mr Sunak – reputed to be the richest MP – is aware what he put into the trust.

It also means he does not have to disclose fuller details of his investment portfolio. The presence of the trust was revealed in the latest register of ministerial interests.

It came as other official documents revealed that he did not take his salary for five months when he joined the Treasury last year. He waived the £34,000 top up to his MP’s salary until just before Christmas.

Theresa May also attracted controversy as she made a similar move when she became Prime Minister in 2016.

And in the mid-1990s the Tories attacked Tony Blair as it emerged he used a blind trust, when leader of the opposition, to fund his office.

Former standards tsar Sir Alex Allan, who quit his role last week after Boris Johnson overruled his conclusion that the Home Secretary Priti Patel breached the ministerial code, is said to have signed off on Sunak’s disclosures.

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