Akshata Murty: Who is Rishi Sunak's wife and is she a billionaire?

File photo dated 09/02/22 of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak alongside his wife Akshata Murthy. It has today been announced that Rishi Sunak is the new Conservative party leader and will become the next Prime Minister. Issue date: Monday October 24, 2022.
Rishi Sunak met Akshata Murty at Stanford when he was studying there on a Fulbright scholarship. (PA)

Rishi Sunak is under investigation over a possible failure to declare the shares his wife holds in a childcare agency that was boosted by the budget.

Parliament's standards watchdog has opened an inquiry into the prime minister under rules demanding that MPs are "open and frank" about declaring their interests.

It is understood the investigation relates to the shares Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, holds in Koru Kids.

Murty is the wealthy daughter of an Indian billionaire and has already found herself embroiled in political controversy over her tax affairs. Yahoo News UK profiles her and how the couple acquired their immense wealth.

Who is Rishi Sunak's wife Akshata Murty?

Murty, 43, was born in Hubli, to Indian tech billionaire Narayana Murthy who founded the IT company Infosys; the company is now estimated to be worth around £67.6bn.

Time magazine has described him as the "father" of India's IT sector, with an estimated net worth of around £4bn.

Murty studied at Baldwin Girls' High School in Bangalore, India and then moved to California where she studied economics and French at Claremont McKenna College.

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N. R. Narayana Murthy, founder and chairman of Infosys, listens to a question during an interview with Reuters at the company's office in Bangalore February 28, 2012. Picture taken on February 28, 2012. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash (REUTERS - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY PROFILE HEADSHOT)
Akshata Murty's father, Narayana Murthy, has been described as the Bill Gates of India. (Reuters)
File photo dated 12/08/21 of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy in the stands during day one of the cinch Second Test match at Lord's, London. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are awaiting the results of a poll of Conservative Party members deciding which of them has been selected as the new party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister. Issue date: Monday September 5, 2022.
Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty made the Sunday Times Rich List 2022. (PA)

She later attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising before heading to Stanford University where she gained a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

It was at Stanford where she met Sunak, who was there on a Fulbright scholarship.

Sunak and Murty married in her hometown of Bengaluru in 2009, and have two children - Anoushka and Krishna.

The pair have four homes including a £1.5m mansion in Sunak's constituency of Richmond (Yorkshire), a £6.6m townhouse in Kensington, London, and a home in Santa Monica, California, which has an estimated value of £5.5m.

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What's her net worth and how did she make her wealth?

In 2007, she worked as a marketing director at tech company Tendris before starting her own fashion company which closed in 2012.

After the closure of her fashion company, she became the director of Catamaran Ventures, an Indian venture capital fund, where she co-founded the London branch with Sunak - which is owned by her father.

Murty owns a 0.91% share of her father's technology company, Infosys, worth around £615m as of October 2022.

GRANTHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Conservative Leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak with daughters Krisna, Anoushka and wife Akshata Murthy after making a speech while campaigning on July 23, 2022 in Grantham, England. Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak has chosen Grantham, a Conservative party heartland and the home town of former PM Margaret Thatcher, as the next stop of his campaign to become the leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister. Sunak has promised “a return to traditional Conservative economic values” and will cut taxes only after inflation is under control (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images,)
Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty have two young daughters, Krishna and Anoushka. (Getty Images)

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The businesswoman also owns shares in Jamie Oliver's restaurant businesses, as well as Wendy's, Koro Kids, and is director of Digme fitness.

According to Bloomberg, Murty has a total net worth of £1.06bn.

However, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2022, Sunak and Murty's combined net worth at £730m - making the incoming prime minister the wealthiest MP in parliament.

Why has Murty been criticised?

Sunak is being investigated over a possible failure to declare an interest in an "open and frank" manner.

It is understood the inquiry relates to the shares Murty owns in Koru Kids, a childcare agency which could benefit from a new policy announced in the spring budget.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a pilot of incentive payments of £600 for childminders joining the profession, with it doubling to £1,200 for those who sign up through agencies.

Murty was listed as a shareholder for one of those agencies, Koru Kids, as recently as 6 March.

Sunak was urged to "come clean" about his family shares last month after being questioned by MPs over why the childcare policy favoured private firms.

Appearing before the Liaison Committee, he did not mention Murty’s shares in the firm.

Asked if he had any interests to declare, Sunak said: "No, all my disclosures are declared in the normal way."

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Akshata Murthy, wife of Conservative hopeful Rishi Sunak, attends the final Tory leadership hustings at Wembley Arena on August 31, 2022 in London, England. Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak are vying to become the new leader of the Conservative Party and the UK's next Prime Minister. The winner of the contest will be announced on Monday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Akshata Murty has a net worth of over £1bn. (Getty Images)

Koru Kids, which is one of six childminder agencies listed on the government’s website, welcomed the new incentives in the budget as “great”.

Downing Street said Sunak will clarify how it was declared as a ministerial interest, rather than to the Commons.

In April 2022, it emerged she was registered as a non-domiciled resident of the UK which could have enabled her to avoid millions of pounds in tax.

After intense political pressure and backlash from the public, Murty announced she was changing her tax arrangements.

"I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family," she said in April.

"For this reason, I will no longer be claiming the remittance basis for tax."

Murty has also come under criticism after it emerged Infosys was still operating in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Additional reporting by Nadine Batchelor-Hunt.

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