Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not face a criminal investigation by the police watchdog for misconduct in public office over his relationship with US businesswoman Jennifer Acuri while he was Mayor of London, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced on Thursday.
Mr Johnson was referred to the IOPC in September last year amid complaints over his relationship with Ms Arcuri.
UK's police watchdog found evidence had Boris Johnson close, possibly "intimate" relationship Jennifer Arcuri that may have influenced the decision to place her on foreign trips.— Peter Geoghegan (@PeterKGeoghegan) May 21, 2020
No criminal wrongdoing and no police investigation.
Am shocked.... 😬😬😬https://t.co/0bksVR1NFN
According to the IOPC official statement, the allegations were that, on more than one occasion, Mr Johnson, as Mayor of London, used his position to benefit and reward Ms Arcuri or her companies with sponsorship money and access to trade missions, potentially committing the offence of misconduct in public office.
The IOPC said in the report that there was a “close association” between Mr Johnson and Ms Acuri and there “may have been an intimate relationship.”
Independent Office for Police Conduct has cleared Boris Johnson of any wrongdoing in regard to tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri and concluded there was no criminal conduct and no grounds for further investigation.— Stephen Canning (@EssexCanning) May 21, 2020
I bet this won't get the wall to wall coverage the claims got.
But there was no evidence Mr Johnson had influenced payments to Ms Arcuri or her companies and the prime minister has always denied any wrongdoing.
His 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."
However the nine month inquiry by the police watchdog found that Mr Johnson would have been "wise" to declare a conflict of interest and the failure to do so could have constituted a breach of principles for standards of behaviour in public life.
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. “
Mr Johnson now faces a renewed inquiry by the London Assembly, which was suspended while the IOPC considered the case, codenamed Operation Lansdowne.
The Assembly investigation will look into whether the then mayor conducted himself in accordance with the standards of behaviour expected from public servants, including integrity, selflessness, openness and honesty.
As reported in the Independent, Len Duvall, the Greater London Authority's oversight committee chair, said: "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."
"Our investigation will consider whether Boris Johnson conducted himself in a way that's expected from anyone in that position. It's important we get those answers, because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable."