Sunak under pressure over Russia-related ‘blood money’ dividends from his wife | Rishi Sunak

The chancellor, Rishi SunakHe is under increasing pressure over allegations that his wife, Akshata Murthy, is collecting “blood money” in dividends from a family business that has refused to withdraw from Russia, despite Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Labor and the Liberal Democrats are asking Sunak to answer “very serious questions” about Murthy’s estimated $900m (£690m) stake in IT services and consultancy firm Infosys.

Infosys, which was founded by his billionaire father, NR Narayana Murthy, continues to operate in Russia, while most of the big global IT and consulting companies, such as SAP, Oracle, PwC, McKinsey, Accenture and KPMG, have closed their operations. russians

Sunak, who has repeatedly called on British companies to withdraw from Russia in order to “inflict maximum economic damage” on the Putin regime, declined to comment on his wife’s 0.91% stake in Infosys.

Asked by Sky News if his family was “potentially profiting from the Putin regime”, Sunak said: “I don’t think that’s the case. I am an elected politician and I am here to talk about what I am responsible for. My wife is not.

A Sunak spokesman said that neither Murthy nor any member of his family “have any involvement in the company’s operating decisions.” Murthy, who lives with Sunak and her two children in their Kensington terraced house and Yorkshire manor house, has raised approximately £11.5m in dividend payments from Infosys over the past year.

Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian parliamentarian who took up arms to defend her country, said that money paid in dividends by any company operating in Russia should be seen as “blood money” that has a “sponsor”.[ed] The army”.

Asked about Murthy’s involvement with Infosys at LBC, Vasylenko said: “Any money that is put into the Russian economy in one way or another, either directly, either through investments, either through taxes… that money goes to sponsoring the army… to buy the bullets that are killing Ukrainian children, Ukrainian women.

“Every company has the option to take, you can run business as usual and make your money, but you have to live with the fact that it’s blood money and blood trade.”

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, told the BBC it was “really shocking” that “Rishi Sunak’s own family appears to benefit from business in Russia… The chancellor has explicitly asked companies get rid of Russia to inflict economic damage. pain and ensure that the sanctions are felt as deeply as possible.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman Christine Jardine said Sunak “needs to come clean and declare any potential conflicts of interest.” “Openness and full transparency are key given the risks posed by financial connections to Russia,” she said. “The public deserves full transparency on this issue. It cannot be one rule for the chancellor and another for the others”.

In a statement, Infosys said it had “a small team of employees based in Russia, serving some of our global clients, locally.” “We do not have any active business relationships with local Russian companies,” the company said, adding that it had pledged $1 million to help war victims.

Infosys, which was founded by NR Narayana Murthy in 1981 and now has a market value of around $100 billion, has strong historical ties to Russia and Putin.

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Murthy welcomed Putin on a tour of the Infosys Bangalore campus in 2004during which he said that “Putin’s visit to India is an affirmation of the special relationship between our two countries.”

“As our bilateral relationships expand in scope and depth, surely information technology will be one of the areas where both countries can collaborate in search of talent and knowledge,” said Murthy.

Infosys has also provided IT and consultancy services for Alfa-Bank, which was added to the UK sanctions list last week.

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