UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a BBC interview on Sunday denied wrongdoing regarding his ties to an American businesswoman, whom he reportedly paid £100,000 in public funds during his tenure as London's mayor, according to the Hill.
“Everything was done in accordance with the code [...] and everything was done with full propriety. There was no interest to declare," he said.
Johnson rebuked questions about his ties to former model and current owner of Innotech, Jennifer Arcuri, saying: “I am very, very proud of everything that we did and certainly everything that I did as mayor of London”.
During the interview, he criticised successor Sadiq Khan, saying that he “could possibly spend more time investing in police officers than he is investing in press officers and peddling this kind of stuff”.
The statement from the UK prime minister comes after an announcement on Friday by the Greater London Authority that it would provide a report to a police watchdog agency that Arcuri was privy to special trade deals with Israel, the US, Malaysia, and Singapore that were initiated by Johnson, despite not meeting eligibility requirements, according to The Associated Press.
"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", according to a spokesperson with the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Despite Johnson denying allegations that Arcuri received preferential treatment, pressure on the prime minister continues to mount.
It was revealed in the Sunday Times last week that alongside suggestions that Arcuri sat in on highly-sensitive trade talks, she was also given multiple grants by state agencies of up to £100,000, including by an agency set up by Johnson.
Arcuri, said in a statement, said that: "Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman".
The former London mayor did not declare a potential conflict of interest despite being obligated under a code of conduct established by the GLA.