London- Is there a conflict of interest that calls into question British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s policy towards Israel? The answer may not only be related to Sunak’s position on the current Israeli occupation aggression against the Gaza Strip. Rather, there are repeated accusations that have followed him since he assumed the Treasury Ministry portfolio, due to the wealth of his wife, Akashta Murti.
Morty, who was previously described by the British press as “richer than the Queen,” has investments in Israel through an Indian company, and those investments were damaged by the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation and the occupation’s aggression against the Gaza Strip.
The question that Al Jazeera Net is trying to find an answer to was also repeated due to Sunak’s wife’s investments in Russia at the time of its war with Ukraine, as well as questions two months ago about a conflict of interest regarding a huge trade deal between the United Kingdom and the Indian company “Infosys”, in which his wife contributes. Sunak, and her father is considered one of its most prominent founders. This prompted the British press and the Labor Party to demand that Sunak be investigated for conflicts of interest.
Sunak has also been summoned for investigation -Last March- On suspicion of a conflict of interest related to a child care company owned by his wife in the United Kingdom, after 5 months of investigation, Sunak failed to submit sufficient documents to the investigation committee, and apologized to the public, considering it an unintentional mistake.
Richer than the queen
Since he was Minister of Finance Sunak failed to register his wife Akashta Murty’s businesses related to his political decisions, especially since she officially shares in the Prime Minister’s family income. The British newspaper The Guardian described her in 2020 as “richer than the Queen,” which exposed the Prime Minister to many accusations of conflict of interest, whenever his political decisions were linked to the prosperity of his wife’s business.
Murty’s contribution to the annual family budget is estimated at about 12 million pounds, from the profits of her shares in the Indian company “Infosys”, in addition to her being the main heir to her billionaire father, “Narainar Murty”, one of the largest founders of the giant Indian company.
Infosys contributes about 8% of the gross national income in India, as it is one of the largest Indian companies specialized in information technology and the development of technical and cyber research, artificial intelligence and electronic surveillance, which imposes a political character on the company’s decisions, whose cooperation has extended with several countries, including Israel.
Last August, the British Sunday Times explained that there were allegations that the Sunak family could benefit financially from a trade deal that Britain is negotiating with India. It quoted representatives in Parliament and trade experts as saying that there are concerns at the highest levels of government about possible “transparency” issues related to the $500 million share of the Prime Minister’s wife in the international company “Infosys” in India.
Infosys investments in Israel
Israel signed an agreement of understanding with Infosys in 2012, where the occupation government was represented by the Office of the Israeli Chief Scientist for Studies and Research, an office specialized in the field of development and information technology research, and many ministers praised the agreement.
Infosys, the parent company, also invested in the Israeli startup Cloudyn in 2016 for about $4 million. In less than a year, Microsoft acquired Claudine. Microsoft included it in its development and research center, but Without disclosing the details of the deal, as estimated by the press Israeli Between (50-70) million dollar.
And in 2015 It took over Infosys On Banya Company (invitation) Israeli, for $230 millionin a deal in which many complaints were filed, and a wave of protests ensued Resignations Among the senior employees of Infosys, including a member of the Board of Directors, objected to the value of the deal, which they considered to be suspiciously exaggerated.
After 4 years, Infosys’ attempts to sell Banya Company failed, which analysts interpreted as a complaint scandal, which prompted Infosys to stop selling attempts, and began expanding its activities inside Israel.
Infosys and the “Al-Aqsa Flood”
With the escalation of the occupation’s aggression against the Gaza Strip, Infosys CEO Salil Parekh said – last Thursday – that all Infosys employees in Israel are fine, but he refused to answer any information related to the company’s workforce in Israel, explaining that that workers in offices Infosys is local, insisting on not mentioning numbers.
In conjunction with the aggression and its negative effects on the occupation economy, the market value of Infosys declined From 71 billion dollars To 68 billion dollars.
Narayana Murty, Sunak’s father-in-law, is the most prominent founder of the company, and he was affected by the decline in the company’s market value. According to the Forbes index, his wealth fell to $4.3 billion out of $4.5 billion, before the start of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operations.
Economic analysis websites indicated that nine major companies were affected by the Israeli aggression, including Infosys, whose shares on the stock market fell 8% this week.
In the same context, the American newspaper CNBS published a report on the 11 most important news stories in the world, which included the war between Israel and Hamas and the decline in the shares of the Indian company Infosys, which clarifies the connection of its investments to stability in Israel.
Does Parliament investigate?
Al Jazeera Net contacted the Commissioner of the Standards Committee in Parliament, to find out whether there was an investigation regarding the existence of a conflict of interest, regarding Sunak’s policy decisions biased towards the Israeli occupation, but the office refused to comment on the Al Jazeera Net report, under policies that prevent the Commissioner from commenting on the behavior of members of Parliament outside the country. The scope of ongoing or decided investigations is shown on the Standards Committee website.
At the end of the recent conflict of interest investigation, Sunak promised to disclose and record any potential conflict of interest if necessary, but until this moment he has not officially announced the extent of his wife’s work in Israel, and the impact of this on his political decisions related to the occupation’s aggression against the Gaza Strip.
British law stipulates that all representatives and officials register their potential interests in advance, but in general it is difficult for investigators to take strong positions regarding suspicions of conflicts of interest, as current conduct control laws prevent conflicts of interest investigations from being decided definitively, as was approved by a parliamentary report on transparency. Government Issued in May 2021.
The parliamentary report recommended working on new legislation, which would expand the powers of an independent investigation commissioner, instead of the current situation, which allows the prime minister to nullify the investigation at any stage, which the report considered a duplication of roles that harms transparency.
Sunak’s position on Israel
Sunak’s support for Israel has been evident since taking office, as he affirmed in July 2023 what he called “Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist organizations.”
During the current aggression against the Gaza Strip, Sunak confirmed his support for Israel, and also went to Tel Aviv on a solidarity visit on October 19.
He wrote a tweet on the X platform in which he said, “I am in Israel, a nation in grief. I grieve with you, and I stand with you against the evil of terrorism. Today and always.” He followed it with a second tweet in which he expressed his sympathy for the families of the prisoners who were arrested by the Palestinian resistance, and said that he would work with partners to “release them from the terrorists,” as he put it.