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UK PM Sunak being probed over wife’s shares

Wavering on Ukraine would 'embolden' Putin, N. Korea, Iran: Sunak
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under investigation by the parliamentary watchdog over a possible failure to declare shares his wife holds in an agency benefiting from a recent budget, an official said Monday.

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Daniel Greenberg on Thursday launched the probe into shares Akshata Murty holds in childcare agency “Koru Kids”, his office said.

The rules demand that “members must always be open and frank in declaring any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its committees.”

Sunak’s office said the prime minister was “happy to assist the Commissioner to clarify how this has been transparently declared as a Ministerial interest.”

Sunak did not mention Murty’s shares in the firm at a recent committee hearing.

Finance minister Jeremy Hunt in March announced a pilot of incentive payments for childminders joining the profession, which doubles if workers sign up through sign up through one of six agencies, including Koru Kids.

Sunak had promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level” when he came to power in October after the short reign of Liz Truss and the scandal-tainted premiership of Boris Johnson.

He has since received a police fine for not wearing a seatbelt on top of another for breaching lockdown rules when he was finance minister under Johnson.

Murty is the daughter of the co-founder of Indian IT giant Infosys and her wealth is estimated at around $700 million.

Sunak has previously been criticised when it emerged that Murty had so-called “non-dom” status and did not declare earnings from her dividends in Infosys for UK tax purposes.

Murty later said she would include them after a furore.

Critics, including the main opposition Labour party, have said the privately wealthy Sunak, who worked in finance before entering politics, is out of touch with ordinary voters struggling with rising costs.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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