Jennifer Arcuri has claimed when she tried to contact Boris Johnson to discuss media scrutiny surrounding her links to prime minister she said she was spoken to in Chinese.
Arcuri, the US businesswoman who is alleged to have received favourable treatment from Johnson, said she was met with a bizarre response after she got through to the prime minister’s mobile and identified herself.
Speaking to ITV’s Exposure programme she also claimed Johnson “hung up” on her during a more recent attempt to speak with him after he heard her voice.
Journalist John Ware asked her: “Whoever started talking in Chinese to you, into the personal telephone number of the prime minister, was in effect saying: ‘get lost?”‘
Arcuri replied: “I think they were very busy. I think that was a very busy stressful time… that person is under so much stress…
“I said: ‘I know you’re under a lot of pressure, I get that you may not have time to handle this, but I’m gonna hang up and you will call me when you’re ready to speak to me’.”
Speaking about her most recent call, she said: “He heard my voice. And I knew it was him. And he hung up.
“He said: ‘yes hello’, and I simply asked: ‘Why did you block me?’
“…I wasn’t calling to cause problems, I merely just wanted a simple… acknowledgement for what had happened.”
Arcuri was reportedly given £126,000 in public money and privileged access to three foreign trade missions led by Johnson while he was in City Hall.
A City Hall investigation into their relationship was paused following a request by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) while a government review ruled a £100,000 grant she was given by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport through a cyber skills fund was “appropriate”.
A Conservative Party spokeswoman said: “Any claims of impropriety in office are untrue and unfounded.”