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Rishi Sunak Defends Akshata Murthy In UK Parliament, But Why Is Labour Party Attacking Her

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: April 08, 2022, 13:45 IST

Akshata Murthy and her husband Rishi Sunak have faced questions from the opposition Labour Party regarding taxes owed by Akshata (Image: Reuters)

Akshata Murthy and her husband Rishi Sunak have faced questions from the opposition Labour Party regarding taxes owed by Akshata (Image: Reuters)

The Labour Party has claimed that Rishi Sunak raised taxes on UK's citizens while alleging that his wife evaded millions in taxes.

Akshata Murty, who owns 0.93% stake in Indian IT company Infosys, was used by the Labour Party to attack her husband and the Chancellor of the Exchequer or UK finance minister Rishi Sunak in the parliament earlier this week.

The Labour Party’s accusations are related to Akshata Murty’s non-domicile status. The opposition have questioned Sunak as to why Akshata, despite living in the UK for the past nine years, still claims non-domicile status.

Sunak defended Akshata in the UK parliament and said that she has paid the taxes she owes the UK on the income generated from her UK enterprises. Critics told news agency the Sun that $5.2 million in taxes were deviated.

“Every single penny that she earns in the UK she pays UK taxes on, of course she does. And every penny that she earns internationally, for example in India, she would pay the full taxes on that. That is how the system works for people like her who are international who have moved here,” Sunak was quoted as saying by UK-based news agency the Sun. Akshata’s spokesperson also said ‘always and will continue to pay UK taxes on all her UK income’.

Akshata is a multimillionaire and UK-based news agency claim that she is richer than Queen Elizabeth II as she is worth $910 million compared to the monarch’s $476 million. Akshata’s fortune comes from her stake in Infosys founded by her father Narayana Murthy. She also has real estate in London and the United States.

The non-domicile status allows Akshata or non-UK citizens to ‘to avoid paying UK tax on income from overseas rents and bank interest as well as foreign dividends and inheritance tax’. The rule was first introduced in the year 1799 by then monarch King George III. Non-domicile citizens can however live in the UK all year round. The Labour party pointed out that the non-domicile status was also used by Russian oligarch and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich who recently has been sanctioned.

A report by news agency the Guardian said that Akshata owes an estimated $26 million in tax which is due on the $70 million of dividends she earned over the last seven and a half years. The Labour party questioned Sunak over his wife’s fortunes highlighting that he is responsible for UK’s tax rules and raised tax burden on UK taxpayers last month despite rising economic worries.

Sunak has faced criticism in the British House of Commons for Murty’s alleged tax non-payment. The Labour Party pointed out that aside from using the loophole to avoid paying taxes, Akshata’s company boutique health firm Digme Fitness received $404,450 and $828,471 in furlough which cost the British government $541,442. The furlough was received when her husband Rishi Sunak announced the furlough scheme as emergency economic support measures to support Covid-hit businesses in the UK.

The UK finance minister also said that Akshata pays  around $40,000 a year to maintain her non-domicile status.

Sunak faced criticism in March as well when a Sky News anchor confronted him and asked him if he was not following the advice he gave UK businesses in his own home. His discussion with Sky News’ Jayne Secker went viral when she alleged whether Akshata’s involvement with Infosys’, which also has offices in Moscow, benefitting from Putin’s regime. Sunak clarified that it was not the case and he speaks for himself and not his wife.

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first published:April 08, 2022, 13:45 IST
last updated:April 08, 2022, 13:45 IST