Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak

LONDON: British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak became on Friday 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, 861 million euros) 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.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2022

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