Sunak cleared over non-dom wife's tax affairs and US green card

27 April 2022, 16:34 | Updated: 27 April 2022, 17:30

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak alongside his wife Akshata Murty.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak alongside his wife Akshata Murty. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Rishi Sunak has been cleared by the ministerial sleaze chief after a row erupted over his non-dom wife's tax affairs and his US green card.

The probe was carried out by Lord Geidt, the independent adviser, who reviewed all of the Chancellor's declarations since becoming a minister in 2018.

He has been cleared of breaching the ministerial code after the tax affairs of his family were investigated.

In advice to the Prime Minister, Lord Geidt wrote: "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 judgments, 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."

Mr Sunak had written to Boris Johnson to ask for an investigation into his own affairs after days of criticism over his wife’s non-dom tax status and lack of transparency over their financial affairs.

It emerged earlier this month that Mr Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, held non-domiciled tax status - exempting her from paying UK tax on overseas earnings.

The Prime Minister agreed to launch the investigation amid intense pressure on Mr Sunak over his family's financial interests.

There had been speculation in Westminster that a Labour-sympathising civil servant or rivals in No 10 could have been behind the leaking of the confidential information.

On Wednesday, Mr Sunak insisted he does not believe allies of Mr Johnson were behind the leaks as he answered questions from users of the Mumsnet internet forum.

He was asked how he can have the "understanding and empathy about what it is like to struggle" by someone who said they "couldn't imagine what it is like to live a life in your very privileged financial position".

Mr Sunak said he hoped people "can judge me on my actions", as he accepted he was in a "fortunate position" but stressed his family history of emigrating to the UK "with very little".

During the political storm, Ms Murty, who is an Indian citizen and is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, agreed to pay UK taxes on all her worldwide income.

She is reported to hold a 0.91% stake in Infosys and has received £11.6 million in dividends from the Indian firm in the past year.