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How Rishi Sunak and wife made £700million fortune

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Polling released this week has shown what the British public thinks of the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. SavantaRes carried out a survey asking people what words they associated with the country’s incoming leader. Some said he is “capable” or “clever” while others were critical, branding Mr Sunak “slimy” and a “snake”. But the polling found that the most used word to describe him was “rich”.

It is no secret that Mr Sunak is a wealthy man, but how did he and his wife Akshata Murthy make their £730million fortune?

Before entering politics, Mr Sunak worked as a banker for Goldman Sachs. After this he moved into hedge fund management, setting up his own firm called Theleme Partners in 2010.

Mr Sunak’s time in the City came under the microscope shortly after he was appointed Chancellor in 2020. At the time, the Times reported that Mr Sunak was able to profit from the 2008 financial crisis. He made £100million alongside other hedge fund bosses by making a stock market bet which some say was the catalyst for the financial crisis.

Thanks to his time in the City, Mr Sunak was a multimillionaire by his mid-twenties, according to those who knew him at the time.

Mr Sunak’s career in politics didn’t begin until 2014, when he was selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Richmond in Yorkshire.

While the Prime Minister is a wealthy man in his own right, it is his wife Ms Murthy who makes up the majority of their combined £730million fortune.

The couple married in 2009 having met when they were studying at Stanford Business School in California. Ms Murthy is a fashion entrepreneur, running Akshata Designs. Meanwhile, her father is the sixth richest man in India, worth over £3billion.

As reported by the Guardian, Mr Sunak and Ms Murthy also own four properties around the world worth more than £15million in total. This includes an impressive apartment in Santa Monica, California.

While some see Mr Sunak’s wealth as a mark of success, the new Prime Minister’s fortune has also caused him political difficulties in the past. In April, he admitted to holding a US green card while he was Chancellor. Green card holders pay US tax on their worldwide incomes.

A spokesperson for Mr Sunak confirmed the reports at the time, adding that he had “followed all guidance and continued to file US tax returns, but specifically as a non-resident in full compliance with the law”. They explained that Mr Sunak returned his green card after discussions with US authorities.

Ms Murty also released a statement in April confirming that she would start paying taxes in the UK on her income from abroad. She clarified in a statement that she had “paid tax in this country on my UK income and international tax on my international income” and had always complied with the law.

Last week, the Guardian spoke to local politicians and people near Mr Sunak’s Richmond constituency to gauge what they thought about Mr Sunak’s wealth in the context of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

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Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York, told the newspaper that Mr Sunak’s new swimming pool showed that he couldn’t be “more out of touch”. However, one local backed Mr Sunak to become the Prime Minister because of his knowledge on the economy.

Carmel Carrick, who runs a winestore near Mr Sunak’s house, said: “Everything he predicted has pretty much happened. He warned that tax cuts would lead to rate rises. I think he knows what’s what and will do a good job.”

Back in August, Mr Sunak addressed some of the scrutiny surrounding his wealth. He told the Telegraph that he doesn’t mind people asking him questions about how he made his money.

He said: “I actually quite welcome it, to be honest. It is the opposite of annoying. Very few people bring it up with me. While I was chancellor I did town hall [meetings] very regularly with members of the public … virtually nobody asked me about it.”

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