Rishi Sunak has refused to confirm if he will profit from sales of the most effective anti-coronavirus drug.Theleme Partners, a hedge fund he co
Rishi Sunak has refused to confirm if he will profit from sales of the most effective anti-coronavirus drug.
The UK immediately did a deal to buy five million doses at an expected cost of between £24 ($32) and £28 ($37) per dose.
And that is a small deal compared to others done by the US, with many other nations now queuing up to place orders for what could be a wonder-drug, which is likely to contribute to eye-watering profits.
But Mr Sunak has declined to say whether he still has a financial interest in Theleme Partners, having left the company in 2013 to start his political career, the Guardian reported.
The firm was valued at $7billion when it was floated on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2018, but is now valued at $39billion.
A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister’s independent adviser on ministerial interests has confirmed he is completely satisfied with the Chancellor’s propriety of arrangements and that he has followed the ministerial code to the letter in his declaration of interests.’
It is the latest area of Mr Sunak’s finances to raise questions. Last month he faced demands to reveal details of his financial interests after it emerged he set up a ‘blind trust’ on becoming a minister.
The Chancellor deployed the arrangement, meaning that he does not know how his assets are being invested, when he was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July last year.
However, critics say there is still risk of conflict as Mr Sunak – reputed to be the richest MP – is aware what he put into the trust.
Mr Sunak has declined to say whether he still has a financial interest in Theleme Partners, having left the company in 2013 to start his political career
Theleme has a $500million investment in Moderna, which announced this week its Covid vaccine could be up to 94.5 per cent effective
It also means he does not have to disclose fuller details of his investment portfolio. The presence of the trust was revealed in the latest register of ministerial interests.
‘Blind trusts (and) blind management arrangements are longstanding mechanisms for protecting ministers in the handling of their interests,’ the Treasury spokesman added.
‘They ensure Ministers are not involved in any decisions on the management, acquisition or disposal of items in the arrangement. Politicians of all stripes have used blind trusts / blind management arrangements to ensure they avoid any conflict of interest, including the last Labour Government.
‘The Cabinet Office has set out what are judged to be the relevant interests in the regular list of ministerial interests.’
Last month official documents also revealed that he did not take his salary for five months when he joined the Treasury last year. He waived the £34,000 top up to his MP’s salary until just before Christmas.
Mr Sunak is the latest minister to face questions over their use of a blind trust. Theresa May attracted controversy when she made a similar move when she became prime minister in 2016.
And in the mid-1990s the Tories attacked Tony Blair when it emerged he used a blind trust when leader of the opposition, to fund his office.
Richmond MP Mr Sunak, dubbed the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’, is a multi-millionaire in his own right thanks to his investment career before entering Parliament.
His father-in-law, NR Narayana Murthy, is India’s sixth-wealthiest man thanks to his ownership of multinational business technology giant Infosys.
Meanwhile Mr Sunak’s businesswoman wife Akshata runs fashion label Akshata Designs and is also a director of a venture capital firm founded by her father in 2010. Her shareholding in Infosys alone is estimated at £185million.