Who is Akshata Murthy? Rishi Sunak's Wife Faces Backlash For Holding Shares in Russian-Linked IT Firm

UK Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak's wife Akshata Murthy has a £490 million euro stake in an IT and business consultancy company which is still operating in Russia. This has emerged at a time when major consultancy firms PwC, KPMG and Accenture have all quit Russia over its war in Ukraine.

Akshata Murthy, who is probably richer than the British Queen, has shares in tech giant Infosys, owned by her father, Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy. She received £12 million in two dividend payments from the IT company and Sunak has been warned over this that he has a very serious question to answer.

 Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy
Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy Twitter/@IntelCube

Infosys, which was founded by Akshata's father Narayan Murthy, over the past year made two dividend payments that would have netted Akshata Murthy around £11.7 million through her 0.93 percent holding in the company, reported Daily Mail.

It consists of a payment of 15 Indian rupees per share, equivalent to 15p, announced in April last year, as well as a second payment of 15 rupees unveiled in October.

Murthy, one of the wealthiest women in Britain, married Sunak in 2009. Sunak had been involved in encouraging British firms to suspend their operations in Russia in an attempt to punish Moscow and now he is facing backlashes for giving advice that his wife is not following.

However, Sunak has answered that he is the minister responsible for the country's financial duties, not his wife. "I'm an elected politician and I'm here to talk to you about what I'm responsible for. My wife is not. I don't think that is the case. As I said, the operations of all companies are up to them," he told Sky News.

The British Chancellor has continued to warn companies to avoid an investment that can benefit Putin's regime in Moscow.

But his wife's holdings in Infosys have drawn criticism against him with MPs saying that when "we need to help Ukrainians at the time of war, this is very concerning".

"At a time when we have a responsibility to stand with the Ukrainian people as they resist Russian aggression, this is extremely concerning," said MP Liam Byrne.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak Wikimedia Commons

However, over such remarks, Sunak's office has answered that in October 2014, Akshtha's father Narayan Murthy retired from Infosys and since then he has not been involved in the operation decision of the company.

Currently, Murthy is among the many shareholders in the company. Infosys was founded by Murthy is 1981 and he is also termed Bill Gates of India. In 2004, he was also pictured shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and currently, he has a 0.4 percent stake worth around £311 million in Infosys.