No criminal investigation over PM’s dealings with Jennifer Arcuri
Prime minister Boris Johnson will not be subject to a criminal investigation concerning his dealings with US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct [IOPC] said that there was no evidence that Johnson had a hand in payments to Arcuri or any of her businesses while he was mayor of London, even though there was evidence of an “intimate relationship” between the pair.
In response to the IOPC's report on the inquiry, the prime minister’s spokesman 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."
A government review had already ruled in October 2019 that there was no case to answer over the fact that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport handed a £100,000 grant to one of Arcuri’s companies, Hacker House.
The IOPC inquiry came about after allegations of misconduct in public office were made against Johnson during his time as London mayor and as part of that role, his stint as London’s police and crime commissioner. The allegations were made following a Sunday Times report which suggested that Arcuri received thousands of pounds in sponsorship grants and access to trade trips which Johnson was leading.
IOPC director general Michael Lockwood said: "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."
The inquiry did uncover that an “intimate relationship” may have occurred between Johnson and Arcuri, with the IOPC saying that it “would have been wise” for the PM to “have declared this as a conflict of interest” at the time. The IOPC did acknowledge, however, that under the Greater London Authority’s code of conduct at the time, Johnson was not required to do so.
Despite Johnson having been cleared of wrongdoing in the IOPC inquiry, a separate inquest from the Greater London Assembly [GLA] will now continue, concerning further allegations of a conflict of interest during his spell as mayor of London, spanning the years 2008 to 2016.
Len Duvall, the chair of the GLA’s oversight committee and the leader of the Labour group on the London Assembly, said upon the publishing of the IOPC’s report: "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."