Chancellor Rishi Sunak has come under pressure over his wife, Akshata Murty, having a 0.91% stake in Infosys, a company founded by her father, which continues to operate in Russia. A statement from the company, which was founded by Murty’s billionaire father NR Narayana Murthy, is reported to have said there was a “small team” based in Russia that services global clients but that the firm did not have “any active business relationships with local Russian enterprises”.
The BBC reported on Friday that Infosys is now closing its office in Russia, and attempting to find replacement roles outside of the country for staff employed in Moscow. Akshata Murty’s job and family money have previously caused criticism of Sunak, with accusations that he is out of touch with the rest of the country when it comes to rising costs of living.
For example, when the Chancellor and his wife donated more than £100,000 to Winchester College – one of the most expensive private schools in the country and where Sunak was previously headboy – Labour’s shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson commented that “Rishi Sunak has already said that he is ‘maxed out’ on how much support he can give to our state schools, but he continues to hand out billions in taxpayer subsidies to elitist private schools”.
In light of this criticism, who is Akshata Murty and what does she actually do? Here’s what you need to know.
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Akshata Murty age
Born in 1980, Akshata Murty is 42 years old. She married Rishi Sunak in 2009, and they have two children together.
Akshata Murty net worth
Rishi Sunak has been called the wealthiest MP of the House of Commons, not least because of his background as a banker and then a hedge fund manager, but also because of his wife’s inherited wealth.
Murty’s father, NR Narayana Murthy, is known as the ‘Bill Gates of India’, having built the software company Infosys into a billion dollar empire, together with his wife Sudha. Akshata Murty’s 0.91% stake in the company leaves her richer than the Queen, with an estimated net worth of £500 million.
It’s hard to know for sure what her exact net worth is, as Sunak has not published most of his wife’s assets in his register of financial interests – a Parliamentary information resource intended to ensure open democracy.
When Sunak was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2019, he registered a blind trust as a way of obscuring where the money made from investments comes from. The Chancellor has since then frequently come under pressure from MPs to reveal the contents of this blind trust amid concerns that some of the money may be held offshore.
What does Akshata Murty do?
Murty studied economics and French at Claremont McKenna College in California, US, before moving on to the Fashion of Design and Merchandising in LA. She then completed her MBA at Stanford University, where she met Rishi Sunak.
The majority of her wealth comes from her controversial stake in Infosys, but she is also listed as a shareholder in at least six other companies, including Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria, Wendy’s restaurants in India, and men’s fashion store New & Lingwood.
Additional reporting by PA reporters.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.