Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, held shares in a firm that received nearly £300,000 in taxpayer-funded loans handed out during the PM’s time as chancellor, according to Guardian reports.
The New Craftsmen, a company selling up-market pieces of furniture, collapsed into liquidation in November 2022, according to Companies House filings.
It shows the firm received £37,500 under the Covid bounce-back loan scheme introduced by Sunak in April 2020 and that the government also held 450,000 shares in the company via the Future Fund, also set up by Sunak to help small startups ride out the pandemic.
Under the scheme, the government extended loans that would then convert into shares when the companies attracted new funding.
A source familiar with the loan said the government lent The New Craftsmen £250,000, a sum that was matched by private investors.
The loan was converted into equity, Company House fillings suggest, the value of which has been wiped out.
Among the investors listed on the company’s shareholder register are Prudence MacLeod, the eldest child of Rupert Murdoch, and Akshata Murty, who held 218,785 shares in the business through Catamaran Ventures UK.
Murty also held shares personally in Lava Mayfair Club, a private members’ gym that buckled under the weight of Covid restrictions in 2021, with debts to HMRC of £374,000.
Another Catamaran investment, the fitness chain Digme Fitness, fell into administration in 2021, owing more than £6.1 million in VAT and PAYE taxes, after having received furlough payments of up to £630,000.
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