Jennifer Arcuri says she kept Boris Johnson’s secrets
Jennifer Arcuri, the American businesswoman at the center of a controversy over whether Boris Johnson failed to declare a potential conflict of interest when he was Mayor of London, has said she has kept the Prime Minister’s “secrets” and accused him of refusing to talk to her since he entered Downing Street.
Arcuri made the rounds on early morning British TV, speaking to the BBC and ITV on Monday.
She told the BBC she has known Johnson for “almost 10 years,” adding: “He didn’t have to ignore me, it could have been a 30-second phone call, just to let me know that he’s acknowledging the fact that he, while he gets to be Prime Minister, gets to feed me to the wolves — and I find that really disturbing.”
The personal and business nature of Johnson’s relationship with Arcuri has been under scrutiny since it was reported that her company received tens of thousands of pounds in public funding, when Johnson was mayor between 2008 and 2016.
Johnson is accused of failing to declare the pair’s relationship. He denies any wrongdoing, telling the BBC in September that there was “no interest to declare.” He also suggested that everything was done “entirely in the proper way.”
Arcuri, in her BBC interview, did agree with Johnson that there was “no interest” to declare. “He didn’t do me any favors,” she said.
The businesswoman refused to explicitly lay out the nature of their relationship or confirm whether it was romantic or sexual in nature. But she told ITV: “When the story broke half the people that reached out told me to categorically deny, deny, deny. The other half told me to admit the affair.”
She added to the BBC: “I assure you it was not just a sexual intention, (Johnson) actually was very intrigued by my energy, my ability to get things done.”
CNN has contacted Downing Street and the Conservative Party for comment. In a statement to the BBC, the party said any claims of impropriety against the Prime Minister were “untrue and unfounded.”
The Greater London Authority has been investigating the Arcuri-Johnson relationship and the Independent Office for Police Conduct is exploring whether Johnson should face an investigation into criminal misconduct. Last month, a government review ruled that a £100,000 ($130,000) grant given to Arcuri’s company was “appropriate.”
In addition to the funding, the American tech entrepreneur’s firm also had access to overseas trade missions headed by the then mayor, according to the Sunday Times which initially broke the story.
The paper alleged Arcuri was given preferential treatment when it came to joining the missions, despite her business “not meeting the eligibility criteria for any of the three Johnson trade missions she attended in the space of just a year.” Johnson denied giving Arcuri preferential treatment.
Arcuri also told ITV she had a “vague idea” about how many children the Prime Minister has. Asked to elaborate, she added: “Well, he had the four, and one” with another woman. Johnson refused to answer a question about how many children he has during a BBC interview last week, and the topic has been at the heart of a long-running controversy.
CNN’s Simon Cullen contributed reporting.