Prada and pools: Rishi Sunak’s mega-wealthy wife and in-laws

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NEW DELHI: Akshatha Murtythe Indian wife of the next British Prime Minister Rishi Sunakshe is fabulously wealthy thanks to her billionaire father, a fortune that is stirring controversy as ordinary people reel from the cost-of-living crisis.
Father-in-law of Sunak, NR Narayana MurthyAged 76, he co-founded tech giant Infosys in 1981. The outsourcing giant now worth around $75 billion helped fuel India’s transformation into the “back office of the world.”
One of only two non-Americans on Fortune magazine’s 2012 list of the “12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time,” the Infosys chief’s life-changing moment came in 1974 when he was locked up for four nights in the Europe from the communist East.
“That cured me from being a confused leftist to a determined and compassionate capitalist,” Narayana said afterwards.
Meanwhile, Sunak’s mother-in-law, Sudha, was Tata Motors’ first female engineer after complaining via postcard to the chairman about the company’s stipulation that “female candidates do not need to apply”.
Regarded as “India’s favorite grandmother”, she is a prolific author and a powerful force in social work, having created 60,000 libraries and built 16,000 baths, and is reputed to be humble despite her immense wealth.
Sudha ensured an austere education for her sons Akshata and Rohan, with no television at home and insisting that they go to school in an auto-rickshaw like their classmates.
Atypical for class-conscious India, where arranged marriages are still common, the couple were fine with Murty’s choice of comparatively humble husband, the son of a Southampton doctor named Rishi Sunak.
In a letter, Murty’s father, who spells his last name differently from his daughter’s, said Sunak was “everything you described him to be: brilliant, handsome and, most importantly, honest.”
The couple met at Stanford University in the United States when Murty was pursuing his MBA. The future prime minister was a Fulbright scholar with a first-class degree from Oxford.
Their 2009 wedding was a relatively modest affair by the standards of India’s wealthy, but the reception was attended by around 1,000 guests, including politicians, industrialists and cricketers.
Murty’s stake in Infosys is worth around $700 million, making her richer than the late Queen Elizabeth II, whose personal wealth was estimated at around $460 million according to the 2021 Sunday Times Rich List. .
The 42-year-old also earned tens of millions in dividends in recent years, but her “non-resident” status in the UK shielded some of this income from British tax.
To defuse some of the resulting public anger that hurt her husband politically, Murty said in April that she would pay UK tax on all her worldwide income.
“I do this because I want to, not because the rules require me to,” he tweeted. “My decision… will not change the fact that India remains my country of birth, citizenship, my parents’ home and place of domicile. But I also love the UK.”
The couple, who have two daughters and a photogenic dog, remain extremely wealthy and their lavish lifestyle has not gone unnoticed by the British media at a time when ordinary people are struggling.
In August, reports said they were spending £400,000 on a swimming pool at their country home. In July, Sunak wore Prada loafers on a campaign visit to a rubble-strewn construction site.
Murty and Sunak own at least four properties, including a £7m five-bedroom house in Kensington, London. They also own a flat in Santa Monica, California.
He dabbled in finance and marketing before creating his own fashion brand, Akshata Designs, in 2010.
According to a 2011 Vogue profile, Murty works with artists in remote villages to create Indian-Western fusion clothing that are “vehicles for discovering Indian culture.”
“I think we live in a materialistic society,” he told the magazine. “People are becoming more aware of the world they live in. Doing good is in.”

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