As the winner of the Conservative Party leadership election and one of the wealthiest individuals to serve as prime minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak comes from an unexpected source of wealth: his wife.
The millionaire tech pioneer Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, who founded the Indian IT firm Infosys, is the father of Akshata Murthy. King Charles is thought to be worth $420 million, and Murthy, who owns stock in her father’s business, is thought to be worth just over $800 million.
He is the only prime minister to date who is wealthier than the reigning monarch thanks to his joint wealth with Sunak.
And that wealth derives from holding just under 1% of the company’s stock. The current market value of Infosys is 1.005 trillion Indian rupees, or little over $12 billion.
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While Murthy’s father has retired from his business, he continues to have a minority stake in Infosys, giving him a personal fortune of almost $4 billion.
Initially employed by Goldman Sachs as a banker, Sunak eventually joined the Children’s Investment Fund Management. He met Murthy while pursuing his MBA at Stanford as a Fulbright fellow.
Murthy’s parents abandoned her to live with her grandparents while they built their business, which would later make N.R. Narayana Murthy known as “the father of India’s tech industry.”
In the meantime, according to the Guardian, her mother was the first female engineer and computer scientist at India’s largest automaker, which is a division of the Tata conglomerate.
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It took some time for things to turn around, but Murthy was able to attend Claremont McKenna College in California where she majored in economics and French before transferring to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
Four years after meeting Sunak at Stanford, she got married. At the time, Murthy had relocated to San Francisco to join a Dutch clean technology incubator, but she soon quit to start her own fashion company, Akshata Designs, which flopped after three years.
Murthy’s wealth has occasionally proven to be a contentious issue, such as an recent tax status dispute over her ongoing declaration of her position as a non-domiciled resident, which allowed her to avoid paying U.K. taxes on her foreign income despite living in the country with her husband, according to the BBC.
That meant she paid nearly nothing to the U.K. while residing there because the majority of her wealth comes from her family’s business in India. Sunak was accused of being hypocritical because of the arrangement because he wasn’t paying taxes while the rest of the nation was dealing with inflation and rising prices.
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However, Murthy’s Indian citizenship and non-domiciled status insulated her from such taxes; a privilege she paid about $35,000 a year to retain. In the U.K., she would have had to pay an estimated $321 million in inheritance tax.
According to the Guardian, the pair owns a Georgian manor house in the North Yorkshire village of Kirby Sigston, which is worth over $450,000 and has a tennis court, gym, yoga studio, hot tub, and indoor spa and pool.
Due to the extreme income inequality, it was asserted that Sunak was too wealthy to comprehend the difficulties faced by the typical British person. One Labour MP even referred to Sunak as “out of touch” and “living on another planet.”
When Murthy realized her tax arrangement might be a “distraction” for her husband, she eventually consented to change it. At the time, she stated, “It has become evident that many do not feel it is compatible with my husband’s duties as chancellor of the Exchequer.”