"I'm here to talk to you about what I'm responsible for."
Rishi Sunak was questioned about his wife’s links to a company that has continued to operate in Russia during the war in Ukraine.
Appearing on Sky News, the Chancellor said he had “nothing to do” with Infosys, in which his wife Akshata Murthy holds shares.
The IT company was co-founded in 1981 by Ms Murthy’s billionaire father NR Narayana.
Infosys has since expanded into a number of countries and operates an office in Moscow.
Its most recent annual report lists Ms Murthy as holding 0.9% of the company’s shares, reportedly worth £490 million.
India has not followed Western countries, including the UK, in restricting trade with Russia via sanctions in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.
Rishi Sunak has urged firms to cut ties with Russia to inflict “economic pain” on President Vladimir Putin.
He previously said: “I am urging firms to think very carefully about their investments in Russia and how they may aid the Putin regime – and I am also clear that there is no case for new investment in Russia.”
Asked about his wife’s shares in Infosys and whether this flew in the face of his own advice to businesses, Mr Sunak said:
“I’m an elected politician and I’m here to talk to you about what I’m responsible for. My wife is not.”
When pushed by Sky News presenter Jayne Secker on whether his family could be benefitting from Putin’s regime, Mr Sunak replied:
“No, I really don’t think that’s the case.
“And as I said, the operations of all companies are up to them.
“We’ve put in place significant sanctions and all the companies that we’re responsible for are following those as they rightly should, sending a very strong message to Putin’s aggression.”
Mr Sunak added that he has “absolutely no idea” what Infosys’ response has been to countries introducing wide-ranging sanctions on Russia as he has “nothing to do with that company”.
A spokesperson for Infosys said: “Infosys supports and advocates for peace between Russia and Ukraine.
“Infosys has a small team of employees based out of Russia, that services some of our global clients, locally.
“We do not have any active business relationships with local Russian enterprises.”
“A key priority for Infosys in times of adversity is to continue extending support to the community. The company has committed $1m towards relief efforts for the victims of war from Ukraine.”
In 2004, Putin visited Infosys’ headquarters in Bangalore, where he was given a guided tour by NR Narayana.
A spokesperson for the chancellor said Ms Murthy was “one of thousands of minority shareholders in the company”.
The statement added: “It is a public company and neither her nor any member of her family have any involvement in the operational decisions of the company.
“We do not have any active business relationships with local Russian enterprises.
“Infosys supports and advocates for peace between Russia and Ukraine.”