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Rishi Sunak last night moved to clear his name – as he told friends he will not quit despite the furore over his family’s tax affairs.

In a surprise move, the Chancellor asked Boris Johnson to order an investigation to establish whether he had properly declared his family’s financial interests.

Mr Sunak, who has faced a backlash over revelations of his wife Akshata Murty’s non-dom status, said his ‘overriding concern’ was to retain public confidence in his actions.

The probe, which will be led by Lord Geidt, the Prime Minister’s sleaze-busting adviser on ministerial interests, will examine whether the Chancellor declared all the relevant information about his finances needed to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Lord Geidt previously cleared Mr Johnson of wrongdoing over the £112,000 refurbishment of the Downing Street flat.

Last night Mr Sunak said he was confident he would be cleared and asked for Lord Geidt’s findings to be made public. 

The move came as friends of the Chancellor told the Daily Mail that Mr Sunak is bruised by the row but determined it will not derail his political career.

‘Clearly it’s been very damaging to him and the family are finding the scrutiny difficult,’ a friend said.   

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy pictured together at the British Asian Trust at British Museum in February earlier this year

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy pictured together at the British Asian Trust at British Museum in February earlier this year

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy pictured together at the British Asian Trust at British Museum in February earlier this year

Crisis-hit Rishi Sunak (pictured with wife Akshata) has ordered a hunt for the 'Red Throat' leaker of his wife's tax status as he moved his family out of his grace and favour Downing Street residence

Crisis-hit Rishi Sunak (pictured with wife Akshata) has ordered a hunt for the 'Red Throat' leaker of his wife's tax status as he moved his family out of his grace and favour Downing Street residence

Crisis-hit Rishi Sunak (pictured with wife Akshata) has ordered a hunt for the ‘Red Throat’ leaker of his wife’s tax status as he moved his family out of his grace and favour Downing Street residence 

An Opinium poll this weekend shows that approval for Mr Sunak now stands at just 28 per cent, while disapproval is 43 per cent

An Opinium poll this weekend shows that approval for Mr Sunak now stands at just 28 per cent, while disapproval is 43 per cent

An Opinium poll this weekend shows that approval for Mr Sunak now stands at just 28 per cent, while disapproval is 43 per cent

Removal vans arriving at the rear of Downing Street before heading to the front entrance to unload items from 11 Downing Street

Removal vans arriving at the rear of Downing Street before heading to the front entrance to unload items from 11 Downing Street

Removal vans arriving at the rear of Downing Street before heading to the front entrance to unload items from 11 Downing Street

The sense of chaos was enhanced further yesterday as removal vans were pictured outside No11

The sense of chaos was enhanced further yesterday as removal vans were pictured outside No11

The Sunaks are moving to their luxury West London home, said to be a long-planned step as their elder daughter is heading to boarding school

The Sunaks are moving to their luxury West London home, said to be a long-planned step as their elder daughter is heading to boarding school

The sense of chaos was enhanced further yesterday as removal vans were pictured outside No11. The Sunaks are moving to their luxury West London home, said to be a long-planned step as their elder daughter is heading to boarding school

Vans were seen taking some of the Sunaks' possessions from Downing Street yesterday

Vans were seen taking some of the Sunaks' possessions from Downing Street yesterday

Vans were seen taking some of the Sunaks’ possessions from Downing Street yesterday 

Labour confusion over whether it would abolish non-dom status 

Labour was today still mired in confusion over whether it would abolish non-dom status.

The party vowed to scrap the centuries-old provision – intended to attract wealthy people to the UK – under Jeremy Corbyn.

After the row over Rishi Sunak’s wife erupted last week, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband suggested that the last Labour government should have done away with non-doms.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper repeatedly dodged when pressed on the policy in interviews this morning.

She told Sky News that shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves ‘has a review under way’. 

‘We have previously proposed reforms in exactly this area,’ she said. 

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‘But suggestions that he’s going to walk away are wide of the mark. If there was something worse to come out it would be unsustainable, but he doesn’t think there is.’

There was speculation about the Chancellor’s future at the weekend after removal vans were pictured being loaded with furniture from his Downing Street flat.

An aide said Mr Sunak’s wife and their daughters were temporarily relocating to their west London home in a ‘pre-planned’ move to leave them closer to their eldest daughter’s school.

The Chancellor is expected to continue to ‘live above the shop’ on days when he is working late.

The investigation comes after Mr Sunak ordered an ‘aggressive’ leak inquiry to identify the person responsible for releasing details of his wife’s financial affairs.

Senior officials will be grilled over the damaging leak to the Independent last week. Allies of the Chancellor believe the information, to which few people were privy, was leaked by a Labour-supporting Whitehall mole.

‘There’s going to be a full Cabinet Office and HM Treasury investigation… Divulging the tax status of a private individual is a criminal offence,’ a source said.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse yesterday acknowledged that the timing of the news about Miss Murty’s non-dom status was ‘not ideal’ in a week when the Chancellor’s controversial rise in national insurance was introduced for millions of working people and businesses. 

Rishi Sunak¿s political opponents yesterday called on the White House to investigate why the Chancellor possessed a US green card until last October

Rishi Sunak¿s political opponents yesterday called on the White House to investigate why the Chancellor possessed a US green card until last October

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

Tax experts said the personal loans to Akshata Murty's venture capital firm, Catamaran Ventures UK, fall into a 'grey area' of the rules

Tax experts said the personal loans to Akshata Murty’s venture capital firm, Catamaran Ventures UK, fall into a ‘grey area’ of the rules

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

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

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 

Mr Malthouse told the BBC the Chancellor had been a ‘remarkable force for good’, but that Mr Sunak’s political future was of ‘secondary importance’ to what happened to the economy.

The Chancellor, a former hedge fund manager, was yesterday urged to reveal details of his own financial investments to remove suspicion of a conflict of interest.

He is one of several ministers to have put his investments in a so-called blind trust, which is managed by someone else on his behalf while he remains in government.

But critics say the system is unsatisfactory because ministers still have a good idea what investments they hold and could take decisions to benefit them. 

Former minister David Davis suggested investments should be listed ‘in the public domain’.

Mr Sunak also faces claims made by the Independent that his name appears as a beneficiary of tax haven trusts set up in the British Virgin isles and the Cayman Islands. 

The newspaper claimed to have seen documents ‘linked to Ms Murty, her family and companies linked to their businesses… In a number of them, Mr Sunak was listed as a beneficiary.’

A Treasury source said that neither Mr Sunak, his wife nor her family were aware of any trusts naming him as a beneficiary.

Mr Sunak is also 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.

The White House was challenged over the weekend about how the Chancellor had been allowed to maintain a status that is not available to people ‘employed by a foreign government’.

Indian-born Miss Murty has a £713million stake in the Bangalore-based IT giant Infosys, which was founded by her father.

Last week it emerged she applied to pay tax on a ‘remittance basis’, which allows non-doms to avoid UK tax on foreign earnings in return for a £30,000 annual fee.

On Friday Miss Murty announced she would start paying UK tax on her global earnings, although she will remain a non-dom.

But she faced fresh scrutiny yesterday after the Mail on Sunday revealed she has given more than £4million in interest-free loans to her British venture capital firm Catamaran Ventures UK.

A spokesman for Miss Murty said she had ‘followed the letter of the law’. 

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

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

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

Ms Murty is the daughter of billionaire NR Narayana Murthy. She are Rishi Sunak are pictured with her father and mother Sudha Murthy in Bangalore at their wedding reception in 2009

Ms Murty is the daughter of billionaire NR Narayana Murthy. She are Rishi Sunak are pictured with her father and mother Sudha Murthy in Bangalore at their wedding reception in 2009

Ms Murty is the daughter of billionaire NR Narayana Murthy. She are Rishi Sunak are pictured with her father and mother Sudha Murthy in Bangalore at their wedding reception in 2009

Rishi Sunak’s wife in £4m loan riddle: Tax experts call for investigation into whether Akshata Murty broke non-dom rules by lending money to her UK company with no interest charges

The taxman has been urged to investigate whether the Chancellor’s wife broke the terms of her non-dom status by giving her UK company £4.3 million in interest-free loans.

Tax experts said the personal loans to Akshata Murty’s venture capital firm, Catamaran Ventures UK, fall into a ‘grey area’ of the rules and last night called for HM Revenue & Customs to investigate.

The loans could ‘circumvent’ the basis of her non-dom status if they were found to give her ‘monetary or non-monetary returns’ – whether through profits or by exerting influence – it was claimed.

Individuals can give loans to British companies tax-free even if the money comes from earnings abroad that have not been required to pay UK taxes.

Accountants said they can be a way for non-doms to bring money into Britain without having to pay tax on it.

Last night Ms Murty declined to answer questions about the loans, the bulk of which were given in 2019 and 2020.

A spokesman for Rishi Sunak’s wife said she had ‘followed the letter of the law and complied with all rules in her arrangements’.

Last night The Mail on Sunday put ten key questions to Mr Sunak and Ms Murty. They were mostly not answered

Last night The Mail on Sunday put ten key questions to Mr Sunak and Ms Murty. They were mostly not answered

Last night The Mail on Sunday put ten key questions to Mr Sunak and Ms Murty. They were mostly not answered

On Friday, Ms Murty agreed to pay UK tax on her global fortune in a bid to save her husband’s political career.

In a dramatic U-turn, the Indian heiress she would no longer apply to pay tax on a ‘remittance basis’, which allows non-doms to avoid UK tax on foreign earnings in return for a £30,000 annual fee.

She said: ‘I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family’.

She is still set to save money on inheritance tax by retaining India as her formal ‘place of domicile’.

Being a non-dom on a remittance basis means that foreign earnings, investment income and capital gains are not liable for UK taxes as long as those funds are not spent in the UK.

This means if she kept the money in India for tax purposes, Ms Murty would be exempt from paying anything in Britain.

However, using the money to give a loan to her own company was a ‘grey area’ of the rules that raised questions, a tax expert said. The loan could provide her with ‘monetary or non-monetary returns’, or show a commitment to the UK.

Ms Murty is the sole director and shareholder of Catamaran Ventures UK, which invests in start-up companies.

She co-founded the firm with Mr Sunak in 2013 but he resigned his directorship and gave up his stake when he became an MP in 2015.

The company’s unaudited accounts describe her loans as ‘long term’ and interest-free but do not give any details about the terms or repayment schedule.

Since 2018, Ms Murty’s loans to the firm increased from £732,499 to £4.3 million in the latest accounts to December 2020.

Ms Murty’s father, N R Narayana Murthy, is one of the world’s richest men, with a net worth of more than £3 billion after co-founding tech giant Infosys in 1981.

Much of Ms Murty’s income is likely to derive from her 0.91 per cent Infosys stake which would have paid her a dividend of about £11.6 million last year.

Without her non-dom status, she would have had to pay £4.4 million tax on this in the UK.

Asked to clarify what happens to a non-dom’s remittance basis arrangement if they give a loan to a UK company, a spokesman for HMRC declined to comment.

Lord Sikka, professor of accounting at the University of Sheffield and a Labour peer, said the rules around non-doms were ‘not fit for purpose’.

‘They are archaic and belong to a bygone era,’ he added. ‘Non-dom status must be abolished.’

The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that Ms Murty’s fashion business, while inspired by Indian culture, had its design team and factories based in New York.

In comments made when launching the since-collapsed Akshata Designs, Ms Murty revealed she had a US focus from the start, described it as an ‘international company’ and planned to have her label sold ‘in stores all over America’ as well as one shop in New Delhi.

The brand’s website at the time of its launch said: ‘Akshata is based on a collaborative process that begins in India […] These materials are brought to New York, where a design team creates patterns and samples that highlight the beauty and uniqueness of the raw materials. The clothing and accessories are then produced at several factories in New York and New Delhi.’

In interviews uncovered by this newspaper, Ms Murty also revealed her husband encouraged her to start Akshata Designs, and that his ‘vintage ties’ were one of the things that inspired her designs.

Her fashion website biography in 2011 described her as a ‘Londoner’ who was ‘excited about exploring the rich history and culture that London has to offer for her young daughters.’

She said the ‘concept’ of the brand was to ‘use indigenous crafts as the basis for a fashion label, beginning with India and ultimately expanding to other traditions around the globe.’

Ms Murty developed the business plan for Akshata Designs while at California’s Stanford University, where she met Mr Sunak. She unveiled her first and only collection in 2011.

Last night The Mail on Sunday put ten key questions to Mr Sunak and Ms Murty. They were mostly not answered.

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.’

GLEN OWEN: The West Coast Chancellor who wants to turn Britain into ‘San Fran on Thames’ 

With his £335 trainers and white T-shirt and suit combos, Rishi Sunak has always exuded an unusually Californian air for a Tory MP – more West Coast than Red Wall.

And according to his Government colleagues, the Chancellor’s mindset is as American as his clothing.

He frequently alludes to his Santa Monica home in Treasury meetings, his children have joint US citizenship and, according to one source, he ‘mentions dollars almost as often as he references pounds’.

With his £335 trainers and white T-shirt and suit combos, Rishi Sunak has always exuded an unusually Californian air for a Tory MP ¿ more West Coast than Red Wall

With his £335 trainers and white T-shirt and suit combos, Rishi Sunak has always exuded an unusually Californian air for a Tory MP ¿ more West Coast than Red Wall

With his £335 trainers and white T-shirt and suit combos, Rishi Sunak has always exuded an unusually Californian air for a Tory MP – more West Coast than Red Wall

More contentiously, some fellow Ministers claim the 41-year-old is too close ‘spiritually’ to the global internet giants which have sprung up in Silicon Valley over the past few decades, leading to a radical reshaping of the global economy. ‘He is always talking about turning post-Brexit Britain into ‘San Francisco on Thames’,’ says a colleague, ‘while everyone else talks about a ‘Singapore on Thames’.’

The Ministers argue that this has had an impact on the Government’s approach to regulating the tech giants. When proposed new laws were being drawn up to tackle the anti-competitive behaviour of companies such as Google and Facebook, including the scrutiny of algorithms that discriminate against popular news websites and a requirement to pay media publishers for their content, the Treasury gained a reputation in Whitehall for acting as a block on the proposed reforms.

Akshata, who met Mr Sunak while studying at Stanford University, bought the £5.5 million penthouse in June 2014 when the couple were talking about settling down in California, only for their plans to change the following year when he entered Parliament for the first time.

The Chancellor tries to fly out to the flat, which boasts sweeping views of Santa Monica pier and the Pacific, as often as possible. He had intended to spend last Christmas there, but returned to London just a few hours after arriving in the US when he was informed that, in his absence, Boris Johnson was being pressurised by the Government’s scientific advisers to put the country back into lockdown for the rest of December. After averting the threat, he spent the festive period in Britain while his family celebrated on the beach.

Mr Sunak knows that working-class voters in critical Red Wall seats, which will determine the next election, are unlikely to sympathise with disruptions to his transatlantic jet-setting – but it undoubtedly contributes to the pressures building within the Sunak family.

The Chancellor tries to fly out to the flat, which boasts sweeping views of Santa Monica pier and the Pacific, as often as possible

The Chancellor tries to fly out to the flat, which boasts sweeping views of Santa Monica pier and the Pacific, as often as possible

The Chancellor tries to fly out to the flat, which boasts sweeping views of Santa Monica pier and the Pacific, as often as possible

Although Downing Street sources are adamant that the tax revelations have not been briefed out by them – the hands of Labour-supporting officials in the Civil Service are again detected – there is little doubt about the tensions between No 10 and No 11.

The situation was particularly volatile last September, when the Chancellor was, according to senior sources, ‘hours away’ from resigning over the Prime Minister’s plans to reform social care. Mr Sunak was bitterly opposed to Mr Johnson’s demand for him to produce £12 billion to shake up the care system, arguing against both the timing – he had already spent more than £400 billion on the Covid crisis – and the details of the policy, which included a cap on costs.

When the Prime Minister insisted on going ahead, Mr Sunak used the applied threat of his resignation to force Mr Johnson to introduce the Health and Social Care Levy to cover the cost through a 1.25 percentage point increase in National Insurance.

The issue triggered a further flashpoint between the pair earlier this year when sources claimed that Mr Johnson tried to persuade Mr Sunak to drop the rise.

But if Mr Sunak does leave the Government to spend more time staring at Santa Monica's sunsets, one man will be rubbing his hands with glee: Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, whose friends believe to be the most likely replacement as Chancellor

But if Mr Sunak does leave the Government to spend more time staring at Santa Monica's sunsets, one man will be rubbing his hands with glee: Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, whose friends believe to be the most likely replacement as Chancellor

But if Mr Sunak does leave the Government to spend more time staring at Santa Monica’s sunsets, one man will be rubbing his hands with glee: Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, whose friends believe to be the most likely replacement as Chancellor

Instead, the Chancellor used last month’s Spring Statement to cut fuel duty, tweak tax-free thresholds and signal a cut in income tax in 2024.

The backlash from voters led to a collapse in Mr Sunak’s ratings which, even before the tax revelations, had seriously dented his chances of becoming Prime Minister. The tax revelations emerged on the day the National Insurance rise came into effect, compounding the political damage.

Mr Sunak’s travails have aroused complex emotions in Downing Street. While life for the Prime Minister is easier with a subdued Chancellor, that advantage is offset by the wider damage caused to the Government by the narrative of double standards.

A source said: ‘There will undoubtedly be some schadenfreude in parts of the building as Rishi has been a tricky customer recently. His support during the rows over lockdown parties was conspicuously muted. But it is also a gift for Labour ahead of the local elections, so it is not exactly unalloyed pleasure.’

But if Mr Sunak does leave the Government to spend more time staring at Santa Monica’s sunsets, one man will be rubbing his hands with glee: Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, whose friends believe to be the most likely replacement as Chancellor.

It would be another compelling twist in the decades-long Johnson-Gove psychodrama.

Lib Dems urge White House to investigate whether Rishi Sunak broke US immigration law by serving as UK Chancellor while holding Green Card 

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

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

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

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.   

A Treasury spokesman said Mr Sunak had declared his green card arrangement to the Cabinet Office in 2018, when he became a Minister.

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

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

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

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.’

Source: Daily Mail

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