Labour seeks clarity on closure of Akshata Murty’s investment firm

All the holdings of Catamaran Ventures have been transferred to ShareGift

Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty buy some produce as they attend the Downing Street Christmas Fair on November 30, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Pramod Thomas

LABOUR has raised concerns over the closure of Catamaran Ventures UK, a start-up investment firm owned by Rishi Sunak’s wife, reported the BBC.

The company was wound up by Akshata Murty in December, prompting questions about its impact on government-backed businesses and other companies it holds stakes in.

The establishment of Catamaran Ventures dates back to 2013 when it was founded by the Sunak family.

Sunak relinquished his directorial role in 2015 upon assuming the position of MP, and a year later, his wife assumed the majority shareholding.

According to the report, Labour has written to deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden seeking clarification on several issues, including the payment of tax owed to HMRC and the impact on other companies linked to the government.

A spokesperson for Murty stated that a “significant donation” had been made to ShareGift, an independent UK charity, as a result of the closure.

The report added that all the holdings of Catamaran Ventures have been transferred to ShareGift, except for flower delivery start-up Bloom & Wild, which the prime minister’s wife retained.

The closure of the company, reported in September and confirmed in the London Gazette on December 28, has drawn attention as an election year approaches.

Last year, Catamaran Ventures was reported to hold shares in Study Hall, an education start-up that received a government grant.

Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, Pat McFadden, has urged for continued transparency in the Register of Ministerial Interests regarding the prime minister and his wife’s interests after the company’s closure.

McFadden emphasised the need for transparency, especially considering the company’s involvement with other businesses receiving taxpayer support.

Sunak and his wife’s financial affairs came under examination when it was disclosed that Murty held non-dom status, a privilege enabling UK residents to evade paying UK taxes on earnings generated abroad.

In response to the backlash, she announced her commitment to paying UK taxes on her overseas income.

Murty, whose father established Infosys, one of India’s largest companies, possesses shares in the company valued at an estimated £700 million.