Police 'assessing possible criminality' in Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri case
PUBLISHED: 16:29 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 16 October 2019
The police watchdog is "assessing possible criminality" as it weighs up whether to investigate allegations of a conflict of interest in Boris Johnson's dealings with Jennifer Arcuri.
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Explaining why it asked the London Assembly's oversight committee to pause its misconduct investigation into Boris Johnson's actions as London mayor, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it is "currently acquiring material as part of our assessment to determine whether it is necessary for this matter to be criminally investigated".
MORE: Police watchdog asks London Assembly to pause Jennifer Arcuri investigation
The statement continued: "We have asked the committee to give precedence to our enquiries given we are assessing possible criminality."
The prime minister has been accused of a conflict of interest in his dealings with close friend and former model Arcuri, who received £126,000 of public grants and access to trade missions during his time as mayor.
The New European understands that this becomes a potentially criminal matter because as London mayor, Boris Johnson was also the de facto police and crime commissioner for London.
The IOPC statement added: "The IOPC has a duty to seek to prevent prejudice to any criminal investigation and/or the administration of justice.
"Seeking evidence from persons who are likely to be witnesses or suspects in a potential criminal investigation carries a particularly high risk of prejudice because of the potential for contamination of their evidence, the risk of it being disclosed in public in a manner which may prejudice a trial and/or it becoming known to potential suspects in a manner which could permit obstruction of the investigation."
The IOPC said it expects "this to be determined quickly" but could not give a more specific time frame for its decision.
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