Boris Johnson ‘enjoyed close friendship with US model and tech entrepreneur during his time as London Mayor and failed to declare potential conflicts of interest after she escorted him on overseas trips’
- Technology entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri was given £126,000 in public money
- She was also given access to three overseas trade missions with Johnson
- Her businesses did not meet the eligibility criteria for the trips
- Sources say the pair were very close and were often seen at her flat together
- Downing Street refused to comment on the allegations
Boris Johnson failed to declare a number of potential conflicts of interest with a US former model during his time as London mayor after giving her public money and taking her on trade missions.
His close friendship with the model turned technology entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri has come under scrutiny following an investigation by The Sunday Times.
Arcuri, was given £126,000 in public money as well as privileged access to three overseas trade missions which Johnson led.
Boris Johnson’s relationship with the US model and businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri has come under scrutiny
The pair, who have often been photographed together, were regularly seen together at her flat in Shoreditch, sources say
Sources have also confirmed he was a frequent visitor to Arcuri’s flat in Shoreditch.
The former model, 34, who was in her late twenties at the time, even described Johnson as ‘one of her best friends’, according to sources.
She moved to London seven years ago as a technology entrepreneur and has been praised for her innovation.
But evidence unearthed in the investigation shows that in 2013, Arcuri’s new business received £10,000 in sponsorship from an organisation which Johnson was responsible for as mayor.
He also attended a number of events which promoted her business and gave her preferential treatment for overseas trade missions.
Arcuri was given £126,000 in public money as well as privileged access to three overseas trade missions which Johnson led
This was all in spite of the fact her business did not meet the eligibility criteria for the three Johnson trade missions she attended within a year.
Decisions to turn her down for two of those trips were later overturned after Johnson and his team intervened.
A leaked email shows how she was given access to a New York trade mission after discussing it with the then mayor.
In the role, Johnson was bound by the Greater London Authority’s code of conduct to ‘declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest’.
He was also barred from giving favours to friends.
Arcuri’s two companies have together lost more than £1million according to their latest accounts.
The former model’s new business received £10,000 in sponsorship from an organisation which Johnson was responsible for as mayor
She was also given a £15,000 grant from the government in 2014 to encourage foreign entrepreneurs in Britain.
Last year, she returned to the US but she still won a £100,000 grant for English-based businesses this year by the Deparrment for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The department is now investigating the grant due to the findings of the investigation which show the registered address of the company is a rented house in Cheshire no longer connected to Arcuri, who lives in California.
Johnson also spoke four times at her networking summits.
The pair have frequently been photographed together and she is often seen praising the politician on social media.
Arcuri told The Sunday Times: ‘Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman.’
She did not comment on the personal relationship with Johnson.
Downing Street declined to comment.
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