Indian IT services company Infosys from which the Prime Minister’s wife receives £11.5million in annual dividends is still operating from Moscow eight months after the company announced its withdrawal.
The company maintains a staffed office and pays contractors in the Russian capital to perform IT services for a global client, although a spokesperson said they were seeking to end the deal.
Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, is the daughter of billionaire founder of Infosys, NR Narayana Murthy. She has a 0.91% stake in the company worth £690million which rewards her with multimillion-pound annual dividends.
Murty and Sunak, who entered Downing Street last month, face new pressure to rethink their financial ties to Infosys. Earlier this year, Murty agreed to pay tax on his Infosys dividends in the UK and India after an outcry over his ‘non-dom’ tax status which allowed him to avoid liability in Britain.
On Friday night, a source close to Murty said her investment was a legacy from her father and she had no operational role in the business.
Infosys announced in March that it was leaving Russia after accusations by a Ukrainian politician that the then chancellor’s family was earning “blood money” through its operation in Moscow.
Labor and the Liberal Democrats had also pressured the Sunaks to explain whether they were benefiting financially from Russian money at a time when Vladimir Putin’s troops were waging war in Ukraine.
In April, company sources said it was “urgently” looking to close its office. Seven months after this declaration of intent, the Infosys office in Moscow retains a company plaque on an exterior wall and company sources have confirmed that administrative staff continue to work there as part of a transition. .
The sources said the remaining staff had been tasked with removing the IT equipment before a move to India or disposing of it in a “sustainable” manner.
A spokesperson said employees in contact with customers had left with the last one who would have left in recent weeks. But they added that Infosys was paying two contractors in Moscow to carry out work on its behalf for a client, raising new questions about how quickly the company is doing.
Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner condemned Infosys’ continued presence in Moscow and claimed that Sunak had “failed to put his own house in order” while preaching to others.
She said: “It is utterly outrageous that six months after Infosys declared it would urgently withdraw from Russia, the Sunak family could materially benefit from Moscow-based operations.
“The prime minister’s tough rhetoric on sanctions against Putin is undermined by his private conflicts of interest. When he was chancellor, Rishi Sunak ordered British businesses to reconsider any investment that might support Putin and his regime, but he failed utterly to put his own house in order.
Most of the world’s leading IT and consulting firms, such as SAP, Oracle, PwC, McKinsey, Accenture and KPMG, shut down their Russian operations soon after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Many of the big companies that didn’t immediately leave soon found it impossible to stay due to Western economic sanctions, but the Indian government took a more ambivalent stance.
In September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there was “tremendous potential” for energy cooperation with Russia and that Delhi had long been trying to get closer to Moscow.
When Putin visited the Infosys headquarters in Bangalore in 2004, NR Narayana Murthy, as chairman, said that “Mr. Putin’s visit to India is an affirmation of the special relationship between our two countries”.
“India and Russia share several common values and have already managed to leverage each other’s strengths in various industrial sectors,” Murthy said.
Earlier this year, Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP who took up arms in defense of her country, said the money paid out in the form of dividends by any company operating in Russia should be seen as “blood money” which had a “sponsor”.[ed] the army”.
An Infosys spokesperson said, “Since the beginning of the year, Infosys has taken several steps to suspend its operations in Russia, and all Infosys employees supporting customer projects have been transferred.
“Infosys has no active relationship with local Russian companies. The process of transitioning some remaining partners and administrative staff is ongoing. »
A Downing Street spokesperson said: ‘Neither Akshata Murty nor any member of his family are involved in any operational decisions of the business.