Twice as rich as the king, Rishi Sunak is Britain’s richest prime minister in history

Former banker at Goldman Sachs, Rishi Sunak owes most of his fortune to his wife, the heiress of an Indian computer giant. The new Prime Minister’s outward signs of wealth have often been the subject of cross-Channel derision and criticism.

The richest tenant of 10 Downing Street. The new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is breaking some records. At the age of 42, he thus becomes the youngest Prime Minister in Great Britain for 200 years, beating the previous record holder by a year. David Cameron who took office at age 43 in 2010. He will also be the first non-white person to hold the position.

But in the land of liberalism, it is Boris Johnson’s former finance minister’s bank account that arouses curiosity. Because this grandson of Indian-origin immigrants, the son of a medical doctor father and a pharmacist mother, presides over a colossal fortune. Estimated at 730 million pounds (more than 840 million euros) by the British press, the new Prime Minister’s fortune is twice as high the current royal couple.

He would even become the richest prime minister in the history of the kingdom. According to the Guinness Book, the richest person to become British Prime Minister was a certain Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (1799-1869), who had a personal fortune of over £7 million at the time, or the equivalent of £444 million today pound. With a fortune of £730 million, Sunak is therefore 65% richer than his distant predecessor.

A giant of 100 billion dollars

How did Rishi Sunak make his fortune? Former banker at Goldman Sachs and partner in the hedge funds TCI and Theleme Partners, this pure product of British meritocracy (he studied at Oxford and in the US at Stanford) had a very lucrative first life before politics. Although he earned millions of pounds during his career as a banker, most of his current wealth comes from his marriage to the very rich Indian heiress Akshata Murty.

At 42, Akshata Murty owns nearly a billion dollars worth of shares in Infosys, an Indian technology giant founded by her father NR Narayana Murthy in 1981, whose value today is estimated at $100 billion.

This represents a fortune greater than that of the late Queen Elizabeth II, which amounted to around 350 million pounds (420 million euros), according to British newspaper The Sunday Times. Akshata Murty and Rishi Sunak met in the early 2000s at the prestigious Stanford University in California, where both were preparing for a master’s degree in business. He, from a modest background, receives a scholarship.

In the hierarchical Indian society, Akshata Murty’s parents will agree to her marrying this simple doctor’s son, originally from Southampton, in the south of England. Her father Narayana Murthy will give his consent to his daughter’s wedding plan, admitting that Rishi Sunak fits his description in every way: “brilliant, handsome and above all honest”, says the British press.

The couple settled in England and live on a large train. They own four properties, three in England and a penthouse in California on the beach in Santa Monica estimated at £5.5 million.

During the week, the family (the Sunaks have two daughters) spend most of their time in a lavish five-bedroom house in west London. A house in the Kensington district estimated at £7 million. At weekends the family retreats to a mansion in North Yorkshire, bought for £1.5m in 2015 and said to be worth much more today.

A £400,000 swimming pool

The couple had an indoor swimming pool built there this summer at a cost of £400,000, as well as a gym, tennis court and hot tub. Developments that have caused a lot of ink to flow across the Channel in the current context of sky-high energy prices.

According to Guardianthe annual cost of heating the 12 by 5 meter pool would be £14,000 at current electricity prices, almost six times the average household’s energy bill.

Especially when the British discovered at the same time that the wife of Rishi Sunak had been considered by the British tax authorities as a person “not resident” in the UK for years, which would have saved the couple 20 million on the tax books. A legal loophole, but which generated criticism and tarnished the reputation of the former finance minister.

Will the new Prime Minister’s fortune be a handicap for Richi Sunak? Many English people interviewed by the Guardian on this issue do not seem to care. However, wealth and lifestyle are recurrent subjects of controversy or derision from the English press. Like this summer during a site visit when Sunak’s outfit (tailored £3,500 suit and £500 Prada shoes) was compared to Liz Truss wearing Claire’s £4.50 earrings that day. A simplicity that is considered to be more consistent in the current situation of purchasing power crisis.

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