The tech entrepreneur answered questions from the Greater London Authority’s Oversight Committee
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Boris Johnson’s “crush” on Jennifer Arcuri was an open secret among his own staff, the model-turned-tech entrepreneur claimed today.
Ms Arcuri, who has said she had a four-year affair with the then-London mayor, indicated “at least three high-profile figures” at City Hall knew or suspected the pair were an item.
The US entrepreneur was given access to three taxpayer-funded trade trips led by the now-PM who appeared at events she organised.
Her companies also received £126,000 of taxpayer cash in event sponsorships and grants.
She has insisted there was no conflict of interest. She has also previously told the Sunday Mirror she “made love” with Mr Johnson on the family sofa in his marital home during a four-year affair that began in 2012.
Asked who in the mayor’s office was aware of her close relationship with Mr Johnson, Ms Arcuri told the Greater London Authority’s Oversight Committee: “I don’t necessarily want to go into answering personal details.
“But I will say it was not so much that people knew about my secrets, any more than I knew of theirs.
“There was a lot of, I mean, I can name at least three high-profile figures – people knew there was an interest of the mayor in me, that he had somewhat of a crush on me.
“When we went to events everyone could see the dramatic difference of this man when I entered the room.
“So there was not ever a time when I had to say anything – people kind of assumed what they wanted. But there was never any discussion about any of it.”
The GLA is investigating whether Mr Johnson’s failure to declare the relationship breached the City Hall code of conduct.
Ms Arcuri said she was an “aggressive” networker and City Hall staff “would roll their eyes, ‘there’s Jenifer again, good luck saying no to her’.”
But she insisted: “That was more of the tone than sitting there going ‘hoo hee, let’s talk about the private life’.”
Speaking about herself in the third person she told the committee: “Jennifer Arcuri was the most annoying, perserverant hustler.
“Even when they said no, I didn’t listen, I assumed yes – ‘find another way to say yes to me’, those are my words. I would invite them relentlessly.
“So my relationship with the mayor or non-relationship had really no bearing in my complete pursuit of London and my ability to build the business.”
Ms Arcuri was questioned in detail about who fixed different trade missions.
She insisted she was “already going” to Tel Aviv when it emerged Boris Johnson was making a trade trip there.
And she said she was also already in New York and not part of a trade trip that happened there. She branded claims that a mayoral aide told her she could attend the New York mission unofficially “completely false”.
Ms Arcuri added she went on “was on other trade missions that never got mentioned in press”.
But Ms Arcuri also said she had two phone calls with the then-mayor, ahead of two trade missions in New York and Malaysia to tell him she would attend.
She said she told Mr Johnson New York would “eat you alive” – and gave him “a mouthful” about security risks in Malaysia.
She said: “He wasn’t really a fan of technology at that time do it wasn’t – I was more do you have a private VPN? Have you set up two factor authentication? Don’t connect to free wi-fi! Has anyone trained you on any of this?”