Rishi Sunak cleared of breaching ministerial code by PM’s standards adviser

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Rishi Sunak has been cleared by the standards adviser  (PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak has been cleared by the standards adviser (PA Wire)

Rishia Sunak has been cleared of breaching the ministerial code by the Prime Minister’s standards advisor Lord Geidt.

Mr Sunak referred himself to Lord Geidt after it was revealed his wife Akshata Murthy held non-domiciled tax status which exempted her from paying UK tax on overseas earnings.

He also asked the standards adviser to review whether his possession of a US green card constituted a conflict of interest.

After reviewing the evidence, Lord Geidt concluded there had been no conflict of interest in relation to his wife’s tax status.

Lord Geidt found two instances where Ms Murty’s tax status “could have given rise to a conflict of interest” for the Chancellor but found in the first instance, the issue was properly declared, and in the second Mr Sunak assured a Treasury change in policy for some non-dom individuals, did not affect his wife.

In relation to Mr Sunak’s green card, Lord Geidt added: “While having initially been declared, on appointment to ministerial office at HM.

“Treasury the fact of the Card was not repeated in the declaration. The Chancellor has explained that this was based on his previous understanding of the relevance of the Card.”

He added: “He also discussed the matter with the relevant authorities in the United States and, as a result of those discussions, decided that it would be appropriate at that point to relinquish the Card.”

Lord Geidt said he asked the Treasury to search for any policy that would have affected holders of the card and Mr Sunak’s department responded with "no such evidence".

He was also satisfied there is no conflict of interest over Mr Sunak’s blind investment trust after the Chancellor assured he does not have "live knowledge" of the contents.

In conclusion, he said: “I advise that the requirements of the Ministerial Code have been adhered to by the Chancellor, and that he has been assiduous in meeting his obligations and in engaging with this investigation.

“In reaching these judgements, I am confined to the question of conflicts of interest and the requirements of the Ministerial Code.

“My role does not touch on any wider question of the merits of such interests or arrangements.”

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister agreed to launch the investigation amid intense pressure on Mr Sunak over his family’s financial interests.

While the Chancellor has now relinquished his green card, his wife also agreed to pay UK taxes on overseas income earlier this month.

Ms Murty, who is an Indian citizen, is reported to hold a 0.91 per cent stake in Infosys and has received £11.6 million in dividends from the Indian firm in the past year.

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