Sunak cleared of ministerial code breach over tax affairs

Lord Geidt investigation clears chancellor as questions arise over Sajid Javid's past tax affairs
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been cleared of breaking ministerial rules over his wife's tax affairs and the US green card he possessed while serving in government.

Christopher Geidt, the independent adviser on ministers’ interests, said yesterday that after investigating the two cases, he had found that Sunak had followed all rules – as questions arise over the past tax affairs of his predecessor at the exchequer, Sajid Javid.

Sunak referred himself to Lord Geidt earlier this month amid questions around the ethics of his personal tax affairs.

The chancellor faced intense scrutiny after the Independent reported that his wife, Akshata Murthy, had saved millions on her tax bill through her non-domicile status. She has since announced that she will pay UK taxes in full. 

Pressure on him grew when Sky News reported that Sunak was a US green card holder 18 months after Boris Johnson appointed him chancellor of the exchequer. Holders of these cards must pay US tax on their global income and vow to make the US their permanent home.

Sunak's spokesperson at the time said he gave up the green card ahead of his first trip to the US as chancellor, and insisted that he had not broken any rules.

Geidt today confirmed that Sunak had not broken any ministerial rules.

He wrote: "I advise that the requirements of the ministerial code have been adhered to by the chancellor, and that he has been assiduous in meeting his obligations and in engaging with this investigation".

The chancellor has been approached for comment.

As Sunak is cleared of breaking the ministerial code, fellow cabinet minister Sajid Javid is now facing questions over whether he has done so.

The Independent reported this morning that Javid, now health secretary, used an offshore trust while working as a PPS at the Treasury but did not declare it in the register of MPs’ interests. 

Javid this admitted earlier this month to having had non-domiciled status for “some” of his investment banking career before he became an MP and to having used an offshore trust.

However, the latest revelation that he did not declare the trust while he was a Treasury PPS and an MP raises more questions over propriety. Javid did not set out details of his overseas assets until he became a minister in 2012 – the same year he dissolved the trust.

He was still working in the Treasury when it opened a consultation on policies covering non-doms and overseas trusts in December 2011.

The ministerial code says PPSs must "ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their role as a parliamentary private secretary, and their private interests".

A spokesperson for the health secretary said: “Sajid has been very open and transparent about his previous tax status in the UK and when he lived abroad. He has nothing further to add."

Adam Payne is political editor at CSW's sister title PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared

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