- The UK’s police watchdog found evidence that Boris Johnson was in a close and possibly “intimate” relationship with the former model Jennifer Arcuri.
- They said that knowledge of the relationship may have influenced the decision by officers at London’s City Hall to place her on foreign trips.
- However, the IOPC said there was no evidence Johnson had intervened to place her on the trips.
- There was no criminal wrongdoing and there will not be a police investigation.
- Both Johnson and Arcuri have denied any wrongdoing.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The UK’s police watchdog found evidence of a close and possibly “intimate” relationship between Boris Johnson and the tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri which they believe influenced the decision to place her on foreign trips while he was mayor of London.
The Independent Office found no evidence that Johnson had personally intervened to influence the payment of sponsorship money to Arcuri and so have not recommended a police investigation into the UK prime minister.
However, they did find that officers at City Hall when Johnson was Mayor of London were influenced by the belief that Johnson was in a close relationship with Arcuri.
“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,” Director General Michael Lockwood said in a statement on Thursday.
Johnson will not face a criminal investigation for misconduct.
“The IOPC’s Operation Lansdowne review found no evidence indicating 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,” the organisation said.
However, they did find that Johnson’s behaviour may have breached the Nolan principles of public life.
“Under the broader Nolan Principles of Public Life, our review suggests it would have been wise for Mr Johnson to have declared this as a conflict of interest, and a failure to do so could have constituted a breach of these broader principles contained within the GLA 2012 Code of Conduct,” the organisation said.
“As this does not amount to a potential criminal offence, this is now a matter for the GLA to consider.”
Johnson was referred last September to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, to decide whether he should be investigated for the criminal offence of misconduct in public office, due to his relationship with the tech entrepreneur and former model Jennifer Arcuri.
The Greater London Authority referred Johnson, who was London’s de facto police commissioner during his time as Mayor of London, to the Independent Office for Police Conduct to assess whether he misused public funds by granting public funds and access to foreign trade missions, to his close friend.
Misconduct in public office is a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
A City Hall spokesperson said at the time that “Allegations have been brought to the attention of the Monitoring Officer that Boris Johnson maintained a friendship with Jennifer Arcuri and as a result of that friendship allowed Ms Arcuri to participate in trade missions and receive sponsorship monies in circumstances when she and her companies could not have expected otherwise to receive those benefits.”
“The Monitoring Officer has a statutory duty to record any conduct matters that she becomes aware of relating to the Mayor is his capacity as equivalent to Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater London.”
The London Assembly said on Thursday that they would continue to pursue their own investigation into the former mayor’s conduct.
“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,” the Chairman of the London Assembly Oversight Committee, Len Duvall, said.
“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 spokesperson for the prime minister said: “We welcome the fact that this politically motivated complaint has been thrown out. Such vexatious claims of impropriety in office were untrue and unfounded.”
The Sunday Times reported last year that Johnson had overruled officials to send a close friend on foreign trade missions, despite her business failing to meet eligibility criteria for the visits.
Arcuri, who set up the tech firm Innotech, was also handed multiple grants by public bodies totalling more than £100,000, including an agency set up by Johnson.
The paper revealed that Johnson formed a “close friendship” with Arcuri, who worked on his campaign for Mayor and was seen repeatedly visiting her flat in Shoreditch, east London.
Johnson failed to declare the potential conflict of interest despite being obliged to by strict City Hall code of conduct rules.
Arcuri, who is a former model turned tech entrepreneur, was handed a £10,000 grant by an agency set up by Johnson and he attended multiple events organised by Arcuri.
She was sent on a series of trade missions, despite failing to meet the criteria for the trips, according to the paper. Correspondence seen by Business Insider confirms that his office intervened to overrule officials to ensure her attendance.
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Arcuri was also awarded a £100,000 grant earlier this year by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport intended to help British businesses.
The grant is now the subject of a departmental investigation after the Times discovered that Arcuri’s company’s registered address is a rented house in Cheshire with Arcuri now living in California.
A British phone number listed on the company’s website was reportedly being redirected to California.
In a statement Arcuri said in September that: “Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman.”
Arcuri has reportedly denied having a sexual relationship with Johnson, insisting that the prime minister only visited her flat for “technology lessons.”
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