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Urges Rishi Sunak to be more open about finances after silence over loan source | Rishi Sunak

Written by Javed Iqbal

Labor is calling Rishi Sunak to be more transparent about his finances after the prime ministerial candidate refused to answer questions about the source of hundreds of thousands of pounds he lent to a company he jointly owned with his wife.

The move is the latest request from the former chancellor to explain details of how he has managed his family’s wealth, which is said to total £730m and has led to him being routinely referred to as Britain’s richest MP.

The vast majority of Conservative management candidate’s wealth stems from his marriage to Akshata Murty, a member of the family that founded the Indian technology group Infosys, in which she owns a stake of around £690m.

However, Sunak also worked in the hedge fund industry between 2006 and 2013, raising questions about whether the loans he personally made to his UK business came from profits generated in international tax havens.

James Murray, the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s shadow minister, said: “Rishi Sunak wants to be our next Prime Minister, but once again he seems unable to give a straight answer to questions about his relationship with tax havens. It’s hard to avoid the impression that he has something to hide.”

Between 2013 and 2014, Sunak lent £652,449 to Catamaran Ventures UK, a company he jointly owned with Murty at the time, according to documents filed at Companies House.

The loans were made shortly after Sunak had worked in America between 2010 and 2013 for the US arm of the hedge fund Theleme Partners, where he managed three entities based in US tax haven in Delaware.

Sunak was entitled to a share of the profits from one of the Delaware entities, according to US filings, while industry sources said he likely also invested his own money in the hedge fund.

“Rishi has never used or benefited from a tax shelter,” Sunak’s spokesman said, adding that all of Theleme’s US profits were subject to “full US tax” and that “all profits within the Theleme management company group are taxed either in the UK or in the US, whichever is relevant”.

However, the spokesman declined invitations to say whether Sunak had made the loans to the UK company from an overseas bank account – or whether the loans had been made from an overseas corporate account, potentially saving Sunak tax on bringing the money into the UK.

Days before becoming an MP in 2015, Sunak transferred his share of the UK company and the loan to his wife, a transaction that would have been largely tax-free.

There is no suggestion that Sunak has broken any tax laws and he has insisted that he has “always been a perfectly normal British taxpayer”.

However, the former chancellor has occasionally been embarrassed by his ties to people with less conventional tax arrangements.

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In April, Sunak and his family were criticized too potential avoids £20m in tax via Murty’s “non-judgment” status. After days of negative coverage, she agreed to pay UK tax on her worldwide earnings going forward and for the last tax year, but she remains a non-resident citizen.

Murty has also been revealed to be one shareholder in a restaurant business that channeled investments through a company in the tax haven of Mauritius – a structure that could allow its backers to avoid taxes in India. The largest individual shareholder in this company – International market management (IMM) – is Hugh Sloane, co-founder of the hedge fund Sloane Robinson, who was found to have operated a tax evasion scheme by a court in 2012.

Sunak’s boss at Theleme, Patrick Degorce, was forced in 2013 to pay millions of pounds in tax following a conviction relating to a personal investment in a complex film financing scheme which sought to protect earnings of nearly 19m. GBP.

Meanwhile, a joint venture between Sunak’s billionaire in-laws and Amazon was revealed last year to be in one multimillion-pound dispute with the Indian tax authorities.

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Javed Iqbal

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