Rishi Sunak boasts a fortune nearly double the personal wealth of King Charles III, who today invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new administration following the resignation of outgoing leader Liz Truss
The newly-appointed PM shares extraordinary wealth with his billionaire heiress wife, Akshata Murty, made up of a substantial property portfolio and business interests.
Analysts estimate the total fortune to be worth some £730m, compared to the monarch’s far more modest personal empire of around £370m.
Charles III would be worth more, however, were calculations to include the Duchy of Lancaster, an estate owned by the monarch since the 14th century.
The bulk of the wealth comes from Infosys, the Bangalore-based IT firm founded by Mr Sunak’s father-in-law, in which his wife reportedly holds a 0.91 per cent stake, around 39million shares, worth about £727m.
Experts say that is an increase of more than £200million compared to a year ago, due to a jump in the share price during the pandemic.
Mr Sunak and his wife also own other investments, including a business that funnels investments through Mauritius.
International Market Management is funding the expansion of franchise restaurants in India, including Jamie Oliver’s Italian chain that failed in the UK and US burger brand Wendy’s. This entirely legal structure allows them to reduce taxes paid in India.
The couple’s property portfolio, meanwhile, consists of a £1m flat in Kensington, a nearby mews house worth £7m and a £2m mansion in Rishi’s Yorkshire constituency, where he is nicknamed the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’.
They also have a £5.5m penthouse in California, overlooking Santa Monica pier, which they use in the holidays.
When it comes to wheels, Mr Sunak has publicly claimed that his family car is a Volkswagen Golf, but sources claimed earlier this year it was the cheapest of four vehicles he owns, including a ‘high-spec’ Range Rover, a ‘top-of-the-range’ Lexus and a BMW, which are spread out amongst his various estates in both the UK and the US.
A £12,000 red Kia Rio which he borrowed from a Sainsbury’s employee for a staged PR stunt about a temporary 5p fuel duty cut he rolled out as Chancellor does not appear to be in his garage, however.
While King Charles has access to the Crown Estate, worth some £14.1billion, his own personal fortune is not quite so vast, and is estimated at being around half the size of Mr Sunak’s.
The newly-appointed PM shares extraordinary wealth with his billionaire heiress wife, Akshata Murty, made up of a substantial property portfolio and business interests
He became a household name after he married Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the billionaire founder of a staggeringly successful IT company. Pictured: The couple at their 2009 wedding with Murthy’s parents
This is the extraordinary web of homes and businesses with links to Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata, a heiress to a billion dollar fortune
Multimillionaire Sunak claimed that his family car is a Volkswagen Golf, a relatively cheap and sensible hatchback seen regularly around the streets of London. But sources cited by The Mirror say the Chancellor owns four cars in total, and the ‘family Golf’ is the cheapest of them all by a considerable margin
Sunak is also said to own a ‘high-spec’ Range Rover (pictured), a ‘top-of-the-range’ Lexus and a BMW, which are spread out amongst the Chancellor’s various estates in both the UK and the US
The monarch will never be short of a place to live – with at least nine prominent palaces to lay his weary head – but in a property merry-go-round dubbed ‘Game of Homes’, he has also handed over the 130,000-acre Duchy of Cornwall to his eldest son.
It means William is technically his father’s landlord as long as the King continues to live in his beloved Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire.
However, Charles has inherited a sizeable portfolio, either directly from the Queen – including Balmoral and Sandringham – or as part of the Crown Estate, such as Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
These join those he already owned including Birkhall on the Balmoral estate, inherited from the Queen Mother; Dumfries House and the Castle of Mey, the Scottish landmarks held by his charitable trust; and two Romanian boltholes.
Charles is also fond of his cars, and made use of ‘a Jaguar XJ and a range of new low and zero emissions vehicles’ prior to his accession.
The King also owns an Aston Martin DB6 volante, converted to run on bioethanol made from wine wastage and a by-product of cheese-making.
On top of those, he acquired an all-electric Jaguar I-Pace in 2018, while it was a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV which took him to Buckingham Palace for the first time as head of state.
Robert Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester, told the Washington Post the issue of whether or not voters cared about a Prime Minister being richer than the monarch was ‘not binary’.
He added: ‘The British as a whole don’t think that being wealthy is a bad or disqualifying thing. There are lots of very wealthy individuals who are very popular with the public.
‘People do care about wealthy people fixing the rules for themselves. It’s non-dom status for your wife while you are the chancellor, it’s green cards in the U.S. in case things go south, it’s family tax numbers being massaged down. People are like, ‘Well, I don’t mind so long as you pay your taxes, but it really annoys me if you don’t’.’
Mr Sunak’s hopes of being Prime Minister appeared to be badly damaged earlier this year by the revelation that his wife, who moved to the UK permanently in 2013, is probably paying more tax abroad.
Ms Murty is registered as non-domiciled for UK tax purposes, a legal way to avoid paying taxes in Britain on overseas income. The status is often used by the super-wealthy to save thousands or even millions of pounds in tax.
In a short statement, Mr Sunak’s wife, worth £200m more than a year ago, insisted she pays taxes on all UK income and said the set-up is required because she is an Indian citizen. But a number of tax and accounting experts disputed this.