Boris Johnson refuses to address conflict of interest claims" width="976" height="549">
Boris Johnson with Jennifer Arcuri at an event in 2014
Boris Johnson has refused six times to address claims he failed to declare a potential conflict of interest in how money was given to a US businesswoman while he was London mayor.The Sunday Times said Jennifer Arcuri joined trade missions he led and was given
Johnson 'must address conflict of interest claims'
The newspaper claimed Ms Arcuri moved back to the US in June 2018, but her latest company won a ?100,000 grant intended for "English-based" businesses earlier this year.The Sunday Times said it had found the registered address on the grant application form was a rented house in the UK and no longer connected to her.The government has confirmed to the BBC it is investigating, but said the funds were awarded to a UK-registered company.The Sunday Times also claimed one of Ms Arcuri's businesses received ?10,000 and ?1,500 in sponsorship money from a mayoral organisation when Mr Johnson was in office, and a ?15,000 government grant for foreign entrepreneurs to build businesses in Britain.
Boris Johnson was asked about his links with Jennifer Arcuri during a flight to New York
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was "perfectly normal" for entrepreneurs to join trade missions, aimed at promoting British businesses overseas.He told the BBC: "British companies and entrepreneurs go on trade missions. It's quite right and proper and I'm sure that's exactly what's happened there."
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Government Minister @grantshapps says "trade missions take place all the time" and he was surprised to see a story about Boris Johnson's alleged misuse of public finds while mayor in The Sunday Times #r4today— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) September 23, 2019
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The current London Mayor, Labour's Sadiq Khan, said he has ordered City Hall officials to look into the allegations. Journalists asked Mr Johnson about the allegations when travelling with him to the UN General Assembly in New York. The PM - who was London mayor between 2008 and 2016 - told reporters he was there to "talk about what we're doing in the UN and this country's commitment to tackle climate change", as well as "the crisis in the Gulf and any other issues that may arise".Asked again, he replied: "I'm here to talk exclusively about the work of the UN." Ms Arcuri was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying: "Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman."
Who is Jennifer Arcuri?
The woman at the centre of this story is Jennifer Arcuri, who describes herself on Twitter as an entrepreneur, cyber security expert and producer.She began her career as a DJ on Radio Disney, before moving into film - where she wrote, produced and directed a short film that went on to be sold at Cannes Film Festival.Ms Arcuri then brought in her tech skills to create a streaming platform for independent film makers.But it was her founding of The Innotech Network in London that saw her path cross with Boris Johnson.The network hosts events to discuss tech policy, and Mr Johnson was the keynote speaker at the first of those in 2012. Since then, Ms Arcuri has also founded another company called Hacker House, which uses ethical hackers to find tech solutions for businesses.
Boris Johnson
Sadiq Khan
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