Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, to close down venture capital firm

Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, to close down venture capital firm

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, is to shut down her venture capital firm Catamaran Ventures UK, according to company filings. With little detail about the decision, Catamaran Ventures UK in its latest company filing at Companies House said its directors 'have decided to liquidate the company'.

Sunak and Murty co-founded the startup in 2013 and was backed by Infosys founder and billionaire Narayana Murthy. In April 2015, Sunak resigned as director of operations, shortly before he was elected as an MP.

The investment firm manages $1 billion in assets, or more than 8320 acres, according to its website. The most recent balance sheet in 2022 by Catamaran Ventures UK had set the value of its investments at 3.8 million, a slight rise from the £3.5 million in 2021.

The filings also revealed that its cash holdings fell from just below 400,000 in 2021 to £21,890 in 2022.

In the past, Catamaran Ventures UK's operations have been under microscope, as it emerged that a number of startups it backed received cash infusions through taxpayer-backed schemes or owed money to HM Revenue and Customs.

One such company was New Craftsmen, which collapsed after receiving an extravagance of £300,000 in taxpayer-funded loans. The policies were put in place while Sunak was chancellor.

Another was Sheila Wordsmith. The Education Company secured an £1.3 million from Sunak's Future Fund, a venture funded by Sunak, to aid small businesses during the pandemic. The pair later pleaded guilty and fled the court, owing £249,000 to HMRC.

Digme Fitness was another investment, as did fitness chain Digme Fitness. Covid received more than £6.1 million in VAT andPAYE taxes owed to it, despite going into administration with more than £630,000 in furlough payments.

Earlier this year, Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer criticised Sunak and Murty after studying Hall was awarded close to £350,000 from Innovate UK, a publicly funded body.

In May, Starmer said there were 'questions to answer in relation to this' and that there appeared to be an 'emerging pattern of behaviour here'.

Murty's financial practices have been a topic of discussion during Sunak's presidency. Sunak was criticized for revealing his wife held 'non-dom' tax status, allowing her to legally minimize tax on dividends of Infosys, which were worth £11.5 million in the last financial year. She also agreed to pay tax in the UK on her worldwide income.

Her shareholding in the childcare firm Koru Kids was also a source of controversy, after Sunak was found to have breached parliament's code of conduct by failing to declare it while being questioned by MPs earlier this year.

Murty, one of the promoters of Infosys, is a big supporter. As per Infosys' shareholding pattern for the January-March 2023 quarter, Akshata Murty is shown holding 1,89,57,096 Infosys shares, which is 1.07 per cent of the company's total paid-up capital.

Also read: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on meeting students at the British Council in Delhi.