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Rishi Sunak’s Many Failures to Fully Declare his Conflicts of Interests

The claim that the PM’s failure to declare his wife’s investment in a childcare company subsidised by his Government was ‘inadvertent’ is open to question

Rishi Sunak. Photomontage: PA Images / Alamy

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Rishi Sunak’s failure to properly declare his wife’s shares in a childcare company that financially benefited from his own Government was ‘inadvertent’ Parliament’s Standards Commissioner has now found.

When Byline Times first asked about this back in March, his spokespeople insisted that the Prime Minister had followed the rules “to the letter”.

However, the Standards Commissioner has now found that Sunak’s wife’s financial interest in Koru Kids should have been fully declared by the Prime Minister at the time.

This initial failure, and his subsequent failure to correct the record on the issue, was due to a “confusion” the Prime Minister had about the difference between registering and declaring his interests, the Commissioner ruled, adding that he would not recommend any further action against the PM, beyond requiring an apology.

Such ‘confusion’ about what interests the Prime Minister needs to declare appears to be a regular occurrence for the Prime Minister, however.

Here’s all the other times Rishi Sunak has appeared ‘confused’ about which conflicts of interests he should and shouldn’t publicly declare.

Secret US Green Card

Questions about Sunak’s potential financial conflicts of interests first emerged last year after it was revealed that he had secretly held a US green card while he was an MP and for the first year of his time as Chancellor under Boris Johnson. The arrangement, which required Sunak to privately declare himself a permanent resident of the US, raised serious questions about what other undeclared international interests the then Chancellor may have had.

Offshore Tax Havens

These questions were then heightened after the Independent revealed that he had also been listed as a beneficiary of tax haven trusts in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Sunak’s involvement in these trusts, set up to manage the financial affairs of his wife Akshata Murty, reportedly continued while he was Chancellor.

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Tax Returns

These kinds of questions also surfaced last year in relation to his tax affairs. Sunak initially promised to release his full tax returns once he entered Downing Street. However, Sunak sat on the promised details for months afterwards, until finally slipping them out on the same day as Boris Johnson’s headline-grabbing appearance at Parliament’s Standards Committee. However, despite Sunak’s promise of maximum transparency, the release put out by Downing Street contained no substantial additional information on where Sunak’s money had been invested, or on his US tax affairs.


Sunak’s wife’s financial affairs go well beyond her shares in one childcare agency. In fact so extensive are they that she has relied for some years on being listed as a ‘non Dom; for tax purposes in the UK. The arrangement, which again remained completely undeclared by Sunak until it was exposed by the Independent, has allowed her to avoid paying any UK taxes on her extensive overseas interests. While opposition parties have proposed closing this tax loophole, Sunak has so far resisted doing so.

Infosys and Russia

Sunak’s other big apparent conflict of interest over recent years has been his family business’ connection to Russia. 

In the immediate aftermath of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the then Chancellor urged UK businesses to stop investing in the country, telling them that there was “no argument for new investment in the Russian economy.”

However, what he failed to declare at the time of his statement, was that while he was publicly telling other companies not to put their money into Russia, his own family continued to profit from its links to the country.

What Sunak failed to state to MPs is that his wife is the daughter of the Indian billionaire NR Narayana Murty, who founded the technology company Infosys.

Infosys has strong historic links to Russia and Narayana Murty has previously been pictured with Putin himself.

And despite initially insisting that Infosys would leave Moscow, it was still found to have an office in the country some eight months afterwards.

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‘Blind Trust

After weeks of headlines about the Prime Minister’s failure to publicly declare his wife’s shares in a childcare company which his own Government has handed subsidies to, Downing Street finally published an update to its register of ministerial interests earlier this year.

The update was quite spectacularly unrevealing, however. While details of Rishi Sunak’s involvement with his local rotary club, brass band and community pub were included on the register, significant details of his own personal financial investments, and those of his wife, were not.

Asked by Byline Times why such potentially massive conflicts of interests had been excluded, a spokesperson for Sunak insisted that only such declarations judged to be “relevant” had been added to the list.

This means that while, according to Sunak, the fact the he is a patron of his local brass band is judged to be a “relevant” interest relating to his role as Prime Minister, the fact that his wife was set to potentially massively financially benefit from a Government policy, was not.

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Also not included in the register were any of the Prime Minister’s own personal financial interests, save from the fact that they are now contained within what Downing Street refer to as a “blind management trust”.

This arrangement meant that he was able to continue to benefit from his many outside interests, without having any further say in where they were invested. At the time he was put under pressure to disclose whether any of these interests were held in offshore tax havens, but did not do so.

This arrangement is ostensibly designed to prevent the Prime Minister from personally being involved in any future investment decisions that may be affected by his own policies.

However, by placing his existing investments within this “blind” arrangement, the public are prevented from ever knowing which Government policies may be directly enriching the Prime Minister and his family.

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