Her fortune exceeds that of Queen Elizabeth II: the daughter of an Indian billionaire, Akshata Murthy, wife of British finance minister Rishi Sunak, finds herself in the media spotlight because of her favorable tax situation.
While she lives with her husband in Downing Street, London, this Indian national is treated by British tax authorities as a person “not resident” in the United Kingdom and therefore her income from abroad is not taxed.
However, at the age of 42, Akshata Murthy has about a billion dollars worth of shares in the company Infosys, an Indian technology company co-founded by her father NR Narayana Murthy in 1981 and valued at $100 billion today .
According to the British newspaper The Sunday Times, it represented more wealth than Queen Elizabeth II, which equated to around £350 million (420 million euros).
It also secures Akshata Murthy millions of pounds in dividends, which would have been heavily taxed regardless of her tax status. Perfectly legal, the device looks bad when the British are facing a historic decline in their purchasing power and Rishi Sunak is very reluctant to help households more given its decline in popularity.
Along with her wealthy father, Akshata grew up under the strict upbringing of her mother, Sudha Murthy, who was the first woman to be appointed as an engineer in the automotive conglomerate Tata Motors.
She forbids Akshata and her brother Rohan from television at home and forces them to go to school by rickshaw like all her classmates.
Regarded by some as the “favourite grandmother of Indians”, 71-year-old Sudha Murthy is also a prolific writer who has enabled the creation of 60,000 libraries in India.
– Finance and Fashion –
Akshata Murthy and Rishi Sunak meet at Stanford University in the United States. She is pursuing a master’s degree in business and holds a scholarship.
In an Indian society where organization across social classes is still the norm, Akshata’s parents allow her to marry a lower-class man, the son of a doctor from the British city of Southampton in the south of England.
In a letter to his daughter consenting to their relationship, Akshata’s father says that Rishi Sunak is “everything you have described: splendid, handsome and above all honest”.
The couple’s wedding in 2009 was attended by around 1,000 guests, including politicians, industrialists and cricketers.
Rishi Sunak goes up the ranks. Despite his relatively modest origins and his job as a waiter in his youth, which he likes to remember, he attended a private school and, before Stanford, the University of Oxford.
He thus integrated into the British political and media elite at a very young age and began his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before being elected MP.
Inspired by the finance minister early in the pandemic, he unleashed a flood of public funds to keep the economy afloat, earning him immense popularity.
As a potential successor to Boris Johnson, he sees his star tainted by the current crisis of purchasing power.
The chancellor remains inflexible and his lifestyle contrasts with the difficulties of the British.
Rishi Sunak and his wife own at least four properties, including an estimated £7 million home in London and an apartment in Santa Monica, California.
Akshata Murthy is also a director of investment company Catamaran Ventures, which she founded with her husband in 2013, and created her own fashion label in 2010 at Akshata Designs.
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