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Rishi Sunak could face an investigation into whether he breached US immigration laws whilst serving as a UK Chancellor after green card rules ‘ban American citizens from voting or standing in foreign elections’, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.
Mr Sunak, who has faced a backlash over revelations of his wife Akshata Murty’s non-dom status, is facing questions about his decision to keep his US green card until October last year – more than 18 months after becoming Chancellor.
The decision meant he had to file American tax returns and was classed as a ‘permanent resident’ of the US, where he worked for a decade before entering politics.
Mr Sunak and his wife Mrs Murty own a £5 million flat in Santa Monica, California, which they visit regularly.
However in a fresh blow from the Chancellor’s political opponents, the White House was challenged over the weekend about how he had been allowed to maintain a status that is not available to people ’employed by a foreign government’.
Layla Moran, the Lib Dems’ foreign affairs spokeswoman, wrote to US officials, asking them to investigate why Mr Sunak held the card ‘despite holding elected office in the UK and serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer since February 2020’.
She added: ‘This would appear to be in contravention of US State Department rules.’
It has now emerged that Ms Moran has urged the White House to launch an inquiry into Mr Sunak breaking US immigration laws by serving as a UK Chancellor while holding a Green Card, according to The Telegraph.
Rishi Sunak (pictured) could face an investigation into whether he breached US immigration laws after green card rules ‘ban American citizens from voting or standing in foreign elections’, the Liberal Democrats have claimed
Layla Moran (pictured), the Lib Dems’ foreign affairs spokeswoman, wrote to US officials, asking them to investigate why Mr Sunak held the card ‘despite holding elected office in the UK and serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer since February 2020
She wrote to Alejandro Mayorkas, the American Secretary of Homeland Security, making clear that the Chancellor and his wife ‘continued to file tax returns in the United States while he was in apparent breach of these rules.’
Ms Moran said the matter was of ‘significant public interest’ because US Department of State documents says that ‘running for political office in a foreign country’ and ‘voting in foreign elections’ constitutes ‘evidence indicating abandonment of [US] residence’.
In the letter, also addressed to Charles Rettig, the US Commissioner of Internal Revenue, she wrote: ‘This would appear to be in contravention to US State Department rules, which state that running for political office in a foreign country and being employed by a foreign government indicate abandonment of residence in the United States.’
Ms Moran asked US officials ‘what sanctions may be applied’ if Mr Sunak was found to have broken ‘either the letter or the spirit’ of any of the US visa laws.
Akshata Murthy, whose father is one of India ‘s richest men, faced scrutiny after it emerged she has kept non-dom status despite living in 11 Downing Street with Rishi Sunak and their children. They are pictured together last month
Rishi Sunak’s political opponents yesterday called on the White House to investigate why the Chancellor possessed a US green card until last October
Tax experts said the personal loans to Akshata Murty’s venture capital firm, Catamaran Ventures UK, fall into a ‘grey area’ of the rules
A Treasury spokesman said Mr Sunak had declared his green card arrangement to the Cabinet Office in 2018, when he became a Minister.
He gave it up in October last year after seeking guidance ahead of his first US trip in a Government capacity.
It means he was paying tax to the US Government at the same time as he was holding negotiations with Washington over minimum international tax rates for American-based internet giants including Google and Facebook.
A spokesman for the Chancellor said: ‘As required under United States law and as advised, he continued to use his green card for travel purposes.
Upon his first trip to the US in a government capacity as Chancellor, he discussed the appropriate course of action with the US authorities.
‘At that point it was considered best to return his green card, which he did immediately.
‘All laws and rules have been followed and full taxes have been paid where required in the duration he held his green card.’