Tory donor who paid for Rishi Sunak’s private jet faces legal challenge over business dealings

A Tory donor who funded Rishi Sunak’s private jet travel is being taken to court over allegations of unauthorised business deals that made his sister millions of pounds, it has been revealed.

Entrepreneur Akhil Tripathi, who made his fortune by inventing an anti-snoring device, has donated more than £150,000 to the Conservative Party since 2021.

Mr Tripathi has funded the prime minister’s travel to the Scottish and Welsh Tory conferences, on board an Embraer Legacy 500 private jet, to the tune of £38,500.

According to the i, Mr Tripathi is being taken to court over allegations regarding business dealings made when he was CEO of Signifier Medical Technologies (SMT), a company he co-founded to market his snoring device.

Court papers show he is facing allegations over payments of “tens of millions” to his sister.

Investors claim he facilitated the sale of his sister’s stake in the company without telling the board or highlighting that the seller was his sister.

Mr Tripathi, who attended a Downing Street reception in April at which Mr Sunak was present, denies failing to disclose that his sister sold her shares. He also reportedly claims he was not asked about his relationship throughout the due diligence process.

Other claims include that Mr Tripathi sold SMT shares owned by a close friend, and that he more than doubled the salaries of two senior managers without the approval of the company’s board.

The court documents also accuse the entrepreneur of failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest between himself and a “close connection”.

Mr Tripathi has donated a total of £153,475 to the Conservative Party, Electoral Commission figures show.

Mr Sunak is relying on a dwindling pool of mega-donors ahead of next year’s general election, as support for the Conservative Party dries up.

Recent Electoral Commission data revealed that the Tories had received £15m in donations between July and September including a £10m bequest from the former boss of Sainsbury’s.

Mr Sunak has previously faced transparency questions over donations from multimillionaire Mr Tripathi. The PM declared that the £38,500 cost of air travel was funded by Balderton Medical Consultants, which is based in a property owned by Mr Tripathi.

The original entry for Mr Sunak’s declaration of the donation listed Mr Tripathi, but this was later changed to cite Balderton instead.

A spokesperson for Mr Tripathi told the i: “Mr Tripathi has made a number of donations to the Conservative Party in a personal capacity, including for the costs of air travel for the prime minister and colleagues on 28 April 2023.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, openly published by them and comply fully with the law.”

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