Jennifer Arcuri denies ever getting favours from Boris Johnson
PUBLISHED: 10:03 07 October 2019
Jennifer Arcuri has said she "never, ever" received favouritism from friend Boris Johnson and has refused to say whether they had an affair.
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US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri said she and Johnson, who she saved on her phone as "Alex the Great", bonded over their "mutual love of classic literature".
The technology entrepreneur and former model refused to answer when asked whether she had had a sexual relationship with Johnson, saying that is is "really categorically no-one's business what private life we had, or didn't have".
The interview, on ITV's Good Morning Britain, came after reports emerged that as a close friend of Johnson during his time as mayor of London, she had received numerous favours that she may not have otherwise qualified for.
Although ITV presenter Piers Morgan tried to get her to open up about the details of the relationship, she said that Johnson "never, ever gave me favouritism".
She told Morgan: "it wasn't like [Johnson] singled me out", adding: "He is there to, you know, talk to anybody who gets in his face enough. And he was always a really good friend.
"And I think it's quite unfortunate that it becomes that a good friend, who has now been, you know, now I'm dragged into the middle of this horrific scandal, you know, and the answer that I'm going to give is now going to be weaponised against this man.
"It's really categorically no-one's business what private life we had, or didn't have. But - and categorically more important - Boris never, ever gave me favouritism. Never once did I ask him for a favour. Never once did he write a letter of recommendation for me. He didn't know about my asking to go to trips."
However, emails leaked to the Sunday Times, purportedly from Arcuri's account, say she had asked for a letter of recommendation for a job application to a technology quango.
She reportedly said: "I still have the letter of rec from Boris. hahaha. To think that we asked him to write us a recommendation for the CEO of Tech City is just hysterical."
MORE: You cannot sweep Jennifer Arcuri letter under the carpet, Boris Johnson told
Arcuri, who was a 27-year-old student at the time of applying to the Tech City position, also received £126,000 of public money as well as privileged access to trade missions during Johnson's time in office.
Arcuri told ITV that Johnson had visited her flat in Shoreditch - also where her office was based - a "handful" of times, adding that she did not have time for the media attention surrounding him when they met in public.
"We tried having drinks out in public or having lunch; it just became too much of a mob show, so I said 'You just have to come to my office'," she said.
She said the prime minister had been at her flat - which she confirmed had a pole-dancing pole - "five, 10, a handful of times", but insisted that he had not had anything to do with her other achievements.
Arcuri, who said the press has turned her into an "objectified ex-model pole dancer", said Johnson "asked me to show him a few things" on the pole in her flat.
Describing it as a "conversation starter", she said she and Johnson "always had a laugh about it", adding: "The pole stood in the living room, yes, he saw the pole."
When asked directly whether Johnson had ever used the pole, Arcuri said: "I'm never going to tell you that."
She told the programme during the hour-long interview: "I had a wonderful opportunity to get to know somebody. And it was really fun to be able to share the love of Shakespeare and literature with someone like that.
"So for that I really enjoyed, you know, being able to be his friend and be able to, you know, share in that kind of passion for literature.
"But Boris is extremely personable. He cares a lot about this country, and he cares a lot about people. And I, you know, he is a guy you want to hang out with."
Asked if she ever loved Johnson, she said: "I've been asked that many times. And I care about him deeply as a friend, and we do share a very close bond, but I wish him well.
"I want them to be happy. I wish Carrie well, and like I said, I really do want him to focus on making Britain great again."
Last month, the Prime Minister was referred to the police complaints body to assess whether he should face a criminal investigation over his association with her.
The Sunday Times has reported that the businesswoman confided to four friends that they had been engaged in an affair during his time as mayor.
But Arcuri told GMB: "Those people are not my friends."
Johnson insisted last week that everything he did when promoting London overseas as mayor was done in "complete conformity with the code and the rules".
On the matter of the recommendation letter, she also told GMB she would never have "the cheek to ask" Johnson to write her a letter, adding: "Boris never wrote me a letter. Never."
Arcuri said she had never discussed any sponsorship or grants with Johnson, and when asked if she had asked him to help with any "sponsorship money", she said: "Categorically no."
She said she used £10,000 given to her firm by London & Partners, the promotional agency run by the mayor of London, to "produce (an) event" she hosted in 2013.
Arcuri said Johnson had "absolutely nothing to do" with the £100,000 grant given to her company, Hacker House, in January this year.
When asked whether the company operates out of the UK, despite her relocation to California, she said: "Yes, we operate out of the UK."
Arcuri, who said she stopped regularly speaking to Johnson when she became pregnant at the end of 2016, said she had not been part of three trade missions because of her relationship with Johnson, but due to the work she was doing.
When asked whether the prime minister had made contact with her since the story hit the headlines, she said: "I think Boris has enough on his plate right now.
"Three years ago, he told us Britain needs to leave the EU and I wish him all the best with that.
"I want him to stay focused on the job. I don't need him right now, Britain needs him right now."
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In recent days, Downing Street has also been forced to deny claims that Johnson squeezed the thigh of a female journalist under the table during a private lunch.
Charlotte Edwardes said the incident took place at the offices of The Spectator in London shortly after Johnson became the magazine's editor in 1999.
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