UK Finance Minister Sunak, wife Akshata named in list of Britain’s super-rich

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Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy attend a reception to celebrate the British Asian Trust in London. File

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak became the first high-profile British politician to make the Sunday Times Rich List, weeks after his family’s tax arrangements attracted controversy and amid a cost-of-living crisis.

Sunak and his Indian wife Akshata Murty, whose father co-founded the IT behemoth Infosys, made the annual list for the first time with their joint £730 million ($911 million) fortune.

The bulk of their wealth is believed to come from Murty’s £690-million stake in Infosys, but Sunak also had a highly lucrative career in finance before entering politics in 2015.

The listing, which started in 1989, this year estimates the minimum wealth of Britain’s 250 richest people or families, and features far fewer Russian billionaires due to Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

Sunak’s inclusion comes a month after it was revealed that his wife was sheltered from paying tax on foreign earnings to his Treasury department after claiming so-called non-domiciled status.

The “non-dom” scheme has become controversial in recent years, particularly now that Britons face tax rises and the cost-of-living crisis, with some opposition parties calling for its abolition.

It has been estimated Murty’s non-dom status could have saved her £20 million in taxes on dividends from her shares in Infosys.

Soon after the revelations emerged, she announced she would start paying UK tax on “all worldwide income,” noting that she did not want her tax affairs to be a “distraction” for her husband.

Sunak has also faced persistent criticism for doing too little to help hard-pressed Britons as his once-rosy prospects of succeeding Prime Minister Boris Johnson have ebbed rapidly.

Critics have accused him of hypocrisy for raising taxes on people as various prices surge, while his own family has seen millions of pounds in Infosys dividends shielded from his own Exchequer.

Just this week, he warned in a keynote speech to business leaders that Britons faced a “tough” few months ahead, with inflation confirmed as the highest rate in decades at nine percent.

 

Agence France-Presse



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