UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who is also tipped to be the next prime minister of Britain, got targeted by media questions about the Infosys presence in Russia, the Indian software services firm in which his wife Akshata Murty has a share.
With citation to strict sanctions being imposed on Russia, the Indian-origin finance minister who is the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy was questioned on air by a ‘Sky News’ reporter during a television talk. The interviewer asked if his suggestion to industries was not being fulfilled within his own home. The minister emphasized that the operations of individual firms were an issue for them.
“It’s been noted that you’ve got family links to Russia, that your wife evidently has a stake in the Indian consultancy association Infosys,” asked the reporter.
“They function in Moscow, they have an office there, they have a delivery headquarters there. They’ve got a relation to the Alpha Bank in Moscow. Are you offering advice to others that you’re not fulfilling in your own home?” she asked.
Sunak answered that as “an elected politician”, he was providing the interview about what he’s liable for. “My wife is not,” he said. On being further countered by the reporter on whether his family was “potentially benefiting” from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration, he answered: “I don’t think that’s the situation, and as I said the operations of all firms are up to them.
“We’ve put in place crucial sanctions and all the firms we are liable for are proceeding those as they rightly should, sending a very vital message to Putin’s attack.” He was then directly questioned if Infosys, which also has a UK presence, was delivering a likewise “strong message”.
“I certainly have no idea because I have nothing to do with that firm,” answered Sunak.
An Infosys statement announced that the multinational software services major “supports and advocates for peace” between Russia and Ukraine. The announcement noted: “Infosys has a small team of employees based out of Russia, that aids some of our global clients, locally. We do not have any strong business connections with local Russian enterprises.
“A major priority for Infosys in times of tensions is to proceed extending support to the community. The firm has committed $1 million towards relief efforts for the sufferers of war from Ukraine.”
The UK has put wide-ranging sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals, with Sunak issuing a call for all UK firms to “think very carefully” about any involvements in Russia over the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.
“I am requesting companies to think very carefully about their interests in Russia and how they may benefit the Putin regime – and I am also sure that there is no case for new investment in Russia. We must completely go further in our task to inflict maximum economic grief – and to stop further bloodshed,” he told earlier this month.