Boris Johnson will not face police investigation over links with Jennifer Arcuri
PUBLISHED: 11:44 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:22 21 May 2020
The prime minister will not face a police investigation into his links with Jennifer Arcuri, an American model-turned-technology entrepreneur.
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A review of Boris Johnson’s links with businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri found there was a “close association” between them and there was some evidence to suggest there may have been an “intimate relationship”, but there were no grounds for criminal investigation, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said.
Johnson was said to be a regular visitor to her London apartment but her friends and family have denied suggestions they had an affair, insisting the daytime visits were for “technology lessons”.
He faced accusations that he used his position while mayor of London from 2008 to 2016 to reward Arcuri with public money and access to trade trips.
Arcuri was awarded thousands of pounds in public money, including £11,500 by the mayor’s promotional agency, London & Partners.
His office also ensured she was given a place on trade missions to New York and Tel Aviv with the politician.
She had initially been turned down because she did not meet the criteria required.
IOPC director general Michael Lockwood said in a statement that officials making decisions about funding and trade trips may have been influenced by the relationship.
He said: “The IOPC completed a thorough, independent and impartial assessment to determine if there were reasonable grounds to suspect the criminal offence of misconduct in public office had occurred.
“We found no evidence to indicate that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of any sponsorship monies to Ms Arcuri or that he influenced or played an active part in securing her participation in trade missions.
“While there was no evidence that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of sponsorship monies or participation in trade missions, there was evidence to suggest that those officers making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making.”
As well as finding “some evidence that Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri may have been in an intimate relationship” during the time when she attended trade missions, the watchdog said there is “some evidence” that Johnson may have been aware that Arcuri was on an attendee list for a New York trade mission event - even though he disputed it.
But there was “no evidence” he influenced the payment of sponsorship monies to her firms or “sought to influence, or played an active part in securing” Arcuri’s participation in trade missions.
The prime minister has insisted that he acted with “full propriety” and said he had no interests to declare in relation to Arcuri.
Arcuri said she has received no favours from Johnson but admitted that he should have declared their association.
Neither have ever denied that they were involved in an affair during his time as mayor between 2008 and 2016.
Last year the police watchdog asked the London Assembly to pause its own investigation into the allegations, but the announcement means the probe can now resume.
Len Duvall, the Greater London Authority’s oversight committee chair, said: “The IOPC was looking specifically at whether he committed a criminal offence. That’s not our remit and their decision doesn’t have any real bearing on our investigation, which will focus on his conduct as Mayor of London.
“Everyone who holds public office, whether you’re the mayor of London, or indeed the prime minister, is expected to adhere to the principles of public life - including integrity, selflessness, openness and honesty, to name a few.
“Our investigation will consider whether Boris Johnson conducted himself in a way that’s expected from anyone in that position. It’s important we get those answers, because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable.
“The oversight committee will take into account the current emergency when looking at the timetable for the investigation.”
A spokesman for the prime minister said the months-long scoping exercise “was a waste of police time”.
“We welcome the fact that this politically motivated complaint has been thrown out,” he added.
“Such vexatious claims of impropriety in office were untrue and unfounded.”
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