American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri has complained of an “orchestrated attack” against her and claimed she was suffering “collateral” damage over allegations she had an affair with Boris Johnson, writes The Mail.
The former model turned tech entrepreneur emphatically denied receiving favourable treatment from Johnson during his tenure as London mayor, saying:
“I'm being used as collateral. All the allegations are false.”
Miss Arcuri, 34, said she had “every right” to accompany Johnson on overseas trade missions when he was London mayor.
Arcuri had been keeping a low profile since the Johnson scandal erupted 11 days ago.
She was seen in public for the first time since the incident in a beauty salon run by a friend near her Los Angeles home, and was questioned about her alleged extramarital relationship with Johnson, 55.
While avoiding the personal aspects of the scandal, Arcuri lashed out at allegations that she received preferential treatment in the form of public grants and access to UK trade missions.
“I had every right to be on those trips as a legitimate businesswoman and stand by everything that happened because these allegations are completely false,” the American businesswoman said, insisting all grants and places on trade missions she received were fairly awarded.
Arcuri, who moved to California last year with her British partner Matthew Hickey and their young daughter, continued:
“This is an orchestrated attack on me, absolutely. Someone has gone to great lengths to put together a massive attack and I stand by the legitimacy of my business. I am, in fact, a legitimate businesswoman.”
Earlier, Arcuri allegedly told four of her friends and a Tory activist that she was having an affair with Boris Johnson during his tenure as Mayor of London, according to The Sunday Times.
The woman was believed to have disclosed some intimate details about her relationship with the then-mayor to friends.
Johnson Denies Wrongdoing Over Ties With Arcuri
Allegations of misconduct first surfaced last week pertaining to Boris Johnson's tenure as mayor of London, with claims that he gave favourable treatment to a friend, including inclusion in private trade talks and grants from state bodies of up to £100,000, referring to a police watchdog for a possible “misconduct” inquiry.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has asked the Independent Office for Police Conduct to determine the need for a formal investigation over Johnson’s relationship with the US entrepreneur.
The probe would look into whether Arcuri, who currently owns Innotech, was allowed to join trade missions, and received large grants, “when she and her companies could not have expected otherwise to receive those benefits”.
According to The Sunday Times, which broke the story, the current PM was a regular visitor to the former model’s flat in London, and attended numerous events promoting her company.
While Johnson has repeatedly brushed off questions about whether he had a sexual relationship with Arcuri, in a Sunday interview for the BBC, the UK Prime Minister denied any wrongdoing, saying:
“Everything was done in accordance with the code [...] and everything was done with full propriety. There was no interest to declare," he said.
“I am very, very proud of everything that we did and certainly everything that I did as mayor of London.”