UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not face a criminal investigation into whether he offered special favours to a US businesswoman during his time as mayor of London, a police watchdog said on Thursday.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an inquiry last September following a newspaper report that Johnson, as mayor of London, had failed to disclose his personal links to Jennifer Arcuri, who received thousands of pounds in public funding and joined official trade trips.
While its review established that “there may have been an intimate relationship” between Johnson and Arcuri, IOPC “found no evidence to indicate that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of any sponsorship monies to Ms Arcuri, or that he influenced or played an active part in securing her participation in trade missions”.
Johnson has denied wrongdoing.
The office added that “it would have been wise” for Johnson to declare the relationship as a conflict of interest.
A spokesman for Johnson welcomed the decision, describing the complaint as politically motivated and the months-long review “a waste of police time”.
“Such vexatious claims of impropriety in office were untrue and unfounded,” the spokesman said.
Johnson served as London mayor from 2008 to 2016.
The case arose following a Sunday Times report that Arcuri’s business was given thousands of pounds in sponsorship from an organisation overseen by Johnson, as well as privileged access while on trade trips that Johnson led as mayor.
Arcuri describes herself on her Twitter feed as an entrepreneur and producer.
The Greater London Authority immediately announced that its investigation into Johnson’s conduct would continue, even though a criminal investigation has now been ruled out.
“Our investigation will consider whether Boris Johnson conducted himself in a way that’s expected from anyone in that position,” said Len Duvall, chair of the authority’s oversight committee. “It’s important we get those answers, because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable.”
Arcuri gave a number of TV interviews after the allegations surfaced, saying she and Johnson had enjoyed a “very special relationship”, having bonded over classical literature, but said he had never shown her any favouritism.
She repeatedly refused to say whether she had had an affair with Johnson but said he had cast her aside like “some gremlin” after the reports emerged.