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Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has prompted Rishi Sunak to call on business leaders to “think very carefully” about investments that would “aid the Putin regime”.
The Chancellor might want to start by asking questions closer to home.
Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murthy, owns a £500 million stake in the Indian IT consultancy firm Infosys, which operates an office and has one of its delivery centres in Moscow. The company has remained eerily quiet during the conflict. In fact, Infosys – founded by Akshata’s father, the Narendra Modi-supporting billionaire Narayana Murthy – told Private Eye it “does not see any impact on delivery or services” from its Russian operations as a result of sanctions imposed by the British government.
Infosys has historic connections to Alfa-Bank, Russia’s fourth largest financial institution, which has had restrictions imposed on it by the US and EU but not the UK, although its founder, the Ukraine-born Russian oligarch, Mikhail Fridman, has been targeted personally. In 2019, Infosys ran a blockchain trade finance trial with Alfa-Bank in the hope of widening the technology’s capability across the financial sector in the future.
The connection makes things awkward for Sunak. He might want to have a quiet word with his wife.