Rishi Sunak says he 'didn't sleep' before furlough launch
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Rishi Sunak has so far remained fairly removed from the ongoing Downing Street parties scandal. While he’s not yet been implicated in what is being known as partygate, he’s also not spoken out in support of his boss, Boris Johnson, unlike legions of other top politicians in the Troy party. And sources now suggested this could be because the 41-year-old is cultivating his own leadership bid. A spokesman for Paddy Power said Mr Sunak is the clear favourite for the job, with odds of 5/4 in from 2/1 earlier this week as the Chancellor continued to his vow of silence of the crisis. And if Mr Sunak finds himself up in No 10 any time soon, he’ll be bringing along his wife Akshata – an impressive billionaire with a fortune worth more than the Queen.
Who is Akshata Murthy?
Mr Sunak met his wife Akshata while studying abroad at Stanford University.
The couple married in 2009 in a two-day wedding in Bangalore and now have two daughters together, Krishna and Anoushka.
Initially, they had been living in California, but relocated to the UK with their two children and now reside between Yorkshire and London.
Ms Murthy is the daughter of Narayana Murthy, one of the richest men in India, and is part of an impressive dynasty.
Her own personal fortune is estimated to be at £430million, making her richer than the Queen whose personal wealth spans £350million.
Ms Murthy runs a fashion label called ‘Akshata Designs’.
The Chancellor’s wife previously revealed she loved clothes as a child which baffled her “no-nonsense software engineer mother”, Sudha Murthy.
Ms Murthy has previously been shot by Vogue magazine, and declared in an interview with the magazine in 2011: “I am about the story behind a particular garment, its authenticity, its craftsmanship and protecting a rich heritage.”
She has previously described fashion as her passion and claimed she couldn’t imagine being involved with anything else.
The billionaire businesswoman is a woman of many talents, and also works as a director of a venture capital company founded by her father in 2010.
Ms Murthy’s father, Narayana, co-founded IT company Infosys in 1981, which has gone on to be a billion-pound firm.
Mr Murthy is the sixth richest man in India, with The Times of India describes the Chancellor’s father-in-law as “one of India’s top entrepreneurs”.
The Times reported in February 2020 that Ms Murthy has a stake in her dad’s IT firm that is reportedly worth £185million, and he is often dubbed the ‘Bill Gates of India’.
Ms Murthy and Mr Sunak are understood to be very well off, owning “at least four properties”, according to reports.
This includes a five-bedroom townhouse in London’s affluent Kensington, valued at about £7million.
The Chancellor’s wife came under fire recently after it was revealed she claimed up to £100,000 of taxpayer’s cash to pay furloughed staff at her gym business.
Figures recently released show the company claimed between £50,000 and £100,000 in furlough money during December to help the Digme Fitness Limited business.
Ms Murthy has a 4.5 percent stake in the business, and is also a director of the firm, while she also has a 0.9 percent stake in her father’s tech company.
Infosys, Ms Murthy’s father’s company, has also reportedly taken part in the furlough scheme, using it to furlough about three percent of the firm’s UK staff force during parts of 2020.
In the face of claims the Chancellor didn’t appropriately declare his wife’s interests before unveiling the furlough scheme, the Treasury responded saying Mr Sunak “followed the ministerial code to the letter”.
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