US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri has reportedly denied allegations that Boris Johnson helped her to win business grants and a visa.
The tech entrepreneur said she was instead the victim of an “orchestrated attack” by media, according to comments in the Daily Mail, which spoke to her in Los Angeles.
Arcuri hit back at scrutiny over her friendship with the now-Prime Minister and defended accompanying him on business trips when he was mayor of London.
“All the allegations are false”, she told the Mail, adding that she had “every right” to join Johnson on trade missions.
Arcuri received grants of £126,000 of public money for her firm Innotech, but said the money was appropriately granted.
Almost £12,000 of that cash came during Johnson’s time as mayor. Arcuri also joined Johnson on three overseas trade missions, after first being turned down from two of those.
“I had every right to be on those trips as a legitimate businesswoman and stand by everything that happened because these allegations are completely false,” she told the Mail.
“This is an orchestrated attack on me, absolutely. I stand by the legitimacy of my business. I am in fact a legitimate businesswoman.”
Johnson has blamed his successor as London mayor, Sadiq Khan, for fuelling claims of misconduct relating to Arcuri.
Arcuri and husband Matthew Hickey moved to the US last year, but one of her firms, Hacker House, still won a £100,000 cyber-skills grant intended to grow UK talent.
Hacker House rushed to establish a UK office after the government began an inquiry into the award, according to the Guardian.
The Prime Minister has denied allegations of impropriety and this week told LBC: “A lot of this is being generated by the current mayor of London, who certainly puts more money into his own PR than he does in projects for the benefits of Londoners.”