Spouse of Rishi Sunak: ultra-wealthy businesswoman who has no UK domicile

Ultra-wealthy Indian businesswoman Akshata Murty, wife of the next British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, found herself in the spotlight last April, revealing the couple’s lifestyle amid a UK purchasing power crisis.

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Considered by the British tax authorities as a “non-domiciled” person in the United Kingdom, Akshata Murty’s income from abroad was therefore not taxed. This perfectly legal statute was a stain, in the midst of a purchasing power crisis, fueling the criticism that was already directed at the husband, who was very reluctant to help the households further.

After being heavily criticized for the millions saved in taxes thanks to this status, the wife of Rishi Sunak, then British Chancellor of the Exchequer, immediately announced that her overseas earnings would now be taxed in the UK.


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“I do it because I want to, not because regulations require me to,” she said.

Conservative Rishi Sunak denounced a “smear campaign” coming from the ranks of the Labor opposition. “Subjecting my wife to catch me is horrible,” he said in an interview with The Sun tabloid, in the face of the first serious crisis that has called into question his meteoric political rise.

“My wife was born in India, she was raised there” and “it would not be reasonable or fair to ask her to cut ties with her country simply because she is married to me”, he defended.

Akshata Murty, 42, owns nearly $1 billion at Infosys, an Indian tech giant co-founded by his father, NR Narayana Murthy, in 1981 and is now worth around $100 billion.

This represents a fortune greater than that of the late Queen Elizabeth II, which amounted to about 350 million pounds (420 million euros), according to the British newspaper The Sunday Times.

Akshata grew up in Bangalore with her wealthy father under the strict upbringing of her mother Sudha Murty, the first woman to be appointed as an engineer in the Tata Motors automotive group.



Rishi Sunak and his daughter | AFP files

She forbids Akshata and her brother Rohan from watching television at home and forces them to go to school by rickshaw like all other classmates.

Considered by some to be “Indians’ favorite grandmother,” Sudha Murty, 72, also a prolific writer, has helped build 60,000 libraries in India.

“My parents raised my brother and I with strong philanthropic values, and volunteering in underserved areas has allowed me to experience the challenges faced by women in India,” said Akshata Murty.

She left in 1998 to study economics in the United States, first at Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles, California.

Akshata Murty and Rishi Sunak meet a few years later at the prestigious Stanford University in California, where both are preparing a master’s degree in business. He, of modest origin, receives a scholarship.



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In hierarchical Indian society, Akshata Murty’s parents will accept her marrying the son of this simple doctor, from Southampton, in the south of England.

Her father, Narayana Murthy, will give his consent to his daughter’s marriage plan, in which he admits that Rishi Sunak corresponds in everything to his description: “brilliant, handsome and above all honest”.

Around 1,000 guests, including politicians, business leaders and cricketers, will attend the 2009 wedding.

Akshata Murty created her own fashion label in 2010, Akshata Designs, before becoming director of investment firm Catamaran Ventures, founded with her husband, in 2013.

The couple, who have two daughters, Anoushka and Krishna, own at least four properties, including a home in London’s upscale Kensington district worth £7m ($7.9m). ) and an apartment in Santa Monica, California.

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