By Jonas Jamarik
The recent allegations made against Prime Minister Boris Johnson accuse him of giving preferential treatment, as well as large monetary donations of public money to his friend, American former model and business-woman Jennifer Arcuri.
The concern is over a donation of £11,500 that Arcuri’s company, Innotech, received from London & Partners, an organisation overseen by Boris Johnson during his time as Mayor of London.
She has also received an additional £15,000 pounds in a government grant to stimulate foreign entrepreneurs in Britain.
Arcuri has also accompanied Boris Johnson on overseas trade missions to Malaysia, New York and Tel Aviv, despite her not qualifying for either trip and her official application being rejected by the government.
The latest issue is a £100,000 grant Arcuri’s company Hacker House received in February of this year.
The grant was awarded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as part of a scheme that supports UK businesses in the field of cybersecurity.
The concern is over Arcuri’s eligibility for the grant as she is a U.S. citizen and has been a resident in California since June 2018. The scheme was intended to be only for UK citizens, and UK based businesses.
Additionally, the grant was not to exceed 50% of the value of the company it had been awarded to; the available financial information on Hacker House shows the company has had virtually no profit since its launch in 2017.
Arcuri describes Hacker House as a company that uses ethical hacking to help businesses with cyber-security.
The head of cybersecurity for the DCMS is MP Nigel Adams, appointed by Boris Johnson. He is also known to be his long-time friend and supporter.
An inquiry by the Greater London Authority (GLA) has been launched into Johnson’s case and he has been summoned to appear before a committee of the GLA’s elected members. Johnson was given a two-week deadline to respond to the GLA’s summons. That deadline passed on October 8 and it was ignored. The Committee will meet this week to discuss next steps.
Johnson has admitted to a close relationship with Arcuri but he denies any allegations of wrong-doing and maintains that he acted with complete propriety when he was Mayor of London.
The Prime Minister’s failure to respond to the inquiry launched by the GLA could result in up to three months in prison and unlimited fines. It could also see the GLA handing the matter over to the Independent Office of Police Conduct, a watchdog organization for investigating complaints against the police.
Johnson is facing charges of misconduct in public office, which is an offence that has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and can be grounds for a just cause for the removal of a public officer.
The GLA can take a range of actions in their investigation of the case, for example, they have the authority to ask Johnson to hand over all his communication with Arcuri, whether public or private.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also launched an investigation with London & Partners, the organization which awarded Arcuri’s £11,500 grant. The DCMS is also investigating the £100,000 donation for Arcuri’s Hacker House.
The allegations against the Prime Minister come at a crucial time for the Government as there have already been calls for his removal from within the house.