10 January 2024

Rishi Sunak probed in Commons over private jet expenses and wife’s company

10 January 2024

Rishi Sunak has been urged to ensure all his financial interests are properly declared, amid reports his family’s investment company is being wound up.

The Prime Minister faced questions about whether he had “forgotten” to declare all his financial interests, following the news that Catamaran Ventures UK, a company owned by his wife Akshata Murty, is being liquidated.

Mr Sunak was also probed about his declaration of private jet travel expenses, and his relationship with the businessman who provided the donation.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Bill Esterson, Labour MP for Sefton Central, said: “Reports suggest the Prime Minister’s family investment company Catamaran Ventures is being wound up and that his wife is exiting her interest in her childcare company, Koru Kids.

I take very seriously my responsibilities to register and declare all of my relevant interests

“So, will the Prime Minister keep his promise to the Liaison Committee, which includes a number of Conservative MPs, and confirm whether or not he has forgotten to register any of his financial interests? And will he publish all details of Catamaran Ventures investments?”

Mr Sunak responded: “I take very seriously my responsibilities to register and declare all of my relevant interests. All of them have been declared in accordance with the ministerial code and it is the role of the independent adviser to advise on what is necessary to publish within that list, including in the case of ministers’ family members.

“And, when specific questions are asked in things like Liaison Committee, as I have been in dialogue with the committee, declarations are made on top of that, which I have made and as I made from the despatch box.

“My wife has been an investor in British companies over the past years, but that is now something that she has ceased to do further going forward.”

Labour has written to the Cabinet Office asking for assurances that Mr Sunak and his wife’s interests continue to be properly declared in the Register of Ministerial Interests amid the company’s closure.

A spokesperson for Ms Murty has said a “significant donation” had been made to the charity ShareGift, following her company’s liquidation.

They added: “Ms Murty has shortlisted several charities focused on veterans’ affairs and education for the ShareGift team to consider at the time of disbursement.”

Elsewhere, Labour MP Alex Norris pressed Mr Sunak about a £38,500 donation from British-Indian businessman Akhil Tripathi, declared in the register of members’ interests last May.

The Nottingham North MP asked: “Can I ask the Prime Minister very simply for the public record whether he personally met Mr Akhil Tripathi in April last year prior to Mr Tripathi giving him £38,000 for the hire of a private jet?”

The Prime Minister replied: “All my declarations are made in the usual way according to the usual processes.”

Mr Tripathi is the founder and director of medical technology company Signifier Medical Technologies.

In the register of interests, the purpose of the donation is described as “provision of air travel to multiple Conservative Party events on April 28 2023 for me and eight members of staff, value £38,500.”

A spokesperson for Mr Tripathi said: “Mr Tripathi has made a number of donations to the Conservative Party in a personal capacity, including for the costs of air travel for the Prime Minister and colleagues on April 29 2023.

“As far as he is aware, all of these have been disclosed on the public register.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox