The Indian IT services company Infosys from which the prime minister’s wife collects £11.5m in annual dividends is still operating from Moscow eight months after the company said it was pulling out.
The company retains a staffed office and is paying subcontractors in the Russian capital to carry out IT services for a global client although a spokesperson said they were looking to end that arrangement.
Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, is the daughter of the billionaire founder of Infosys, NR Narayana Murthy. She has a 0.91% stake in the company worth £690m that rewards her with multimillion-pound annual dividends.
Murty and Sunak, who entered Downing Street last month, face new pressure to rethink their financial links to Infosys. Earlier this year, Murty agreed to pay tax on her Infosys dividends both in the UK and in India after an outcry over her “non-dom” tax status that had allowed her to avoid liability in Britain.
Infosys had announced in March that it was transitioning out of Russia after accusations from a Ukrainian politician that the then chancellor’s family was earning “blood money” via its Moscow operation.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats had also piled pressure on 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, sources at the company had said it was “urgently” seeking to close its office. Seven months on from that statement of intent, Infosys’s Moscow office retains a company plaque on an outside wall and company sources confirmed that administrative staff continued 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” way.
A spokesperson said the client-facing employees had left with the latest said to have departed in recent weeks. But they added that Infosys was paying two subcontractors in Moscow to carry out work on its behalf for a client, raising fresh questions about the speed with which the company is extricating itself.
Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, condemned the continued presence of Infosys in Moscow and claimed Sunak had “failed to get his own house in order” while preaching to others.
She said: “It’s utterly scandalous that six months after Infosys said it would urgently pull out of Russia, the Sunak family could be materially benefiting from Moscow-based operations.
“The prime minister’s tough talk on sanctions on Putin is compromised by his private conflicts of interest. When he was chancellor Rishi Sunak ordered UK businesses to reconsider any investments that would in any sense support Putin and his regime but he’s utterly failed to get his own house in order.”
Most of the main global IT and consultancy firms, such as SAP, Oracle, PwC, McKinsey, Accenture and KPMG, closed their Russian operations soon after the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
Many of the larger companies who did not immediately leave soon found it impractical to stay due to western economic sanctions but the Indian government has been more ambivalent in its stance.
In September, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said there was “immense potential” for cooperation with Russia in the field of energy and there has long been an attempt in Delhi to get closer to Moscow.
When Putin visited the corporate headquarters of Infosys in Bangalore in 2004, NR Narayana Murthy, as its chairman, claimed 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 successfully leveraged each other’s strengths across various industry sector,” Murthy had said.
Earlier this year, Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP who has taken up arms to defend her country, said money paid out in dividends by any company operating in Russia should be viewed as “bloody money” that had “sponsor[ed] the army”.
An Infosys spokesperson said: “Since the start of the year, Infosys has taken several steps to suspend its operations in Russia, and all Infosys employees supporting client projects have been transitioned out.
“Infosys does not have any active relationship with local Russian enterprises. The process of transitioning a few remaining partner and administrative staff is under way.”
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Neither Akshata Murty nor any members of her family have any involvement in the operational decisions of the company.”