British finance minister Sunak compares self to Will Smith after criticism of wife's £400m stake in Russia-linked company

Rishi Sunak is Britain's finance minister, presiding over the economic fallout from the Covid pandemic, Brexit and a decade of austerity policies. His wife is Akshata Murthy, owner of a £400m ($525m) stake in a company that continues to do business with the Russian government. The couple's lucrative conflict of interest came to symbolise the British establishment's admitted reluctance to apply the Russia sanctions that it had promised. Sunak today said that it was upsetting to read this criticism, and said he felt like Will Smith, defending wife Jada Pinkett's honor at the Oscars.

But he joked: "both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked. At least I didn't get up and slap anybody, which is good." … "It's very upsetting and, I think, wrong for people to try and come at my wife, and you know, beyond that actually, with regard to my father-in-law, for whom I have nothing but enormous pride and admiration for everything that he's achieved.

"And no amount of attempted smearing is going to make me change that because he's wonderful and has achieved a huge amount."

Does he think that what Will Smith did was honorable and well-receieved? Does he think criticism of his wife's $400m stake in a company doing business in Russia is like mean jokes about alopecia? He's demanding Britons divest their interests there—if she wasn't his wife, he'd be the one criticizing her!