£100,000 grant awarded to Jennifer Arcuri was 'appropriate,' review finds

31 October 2019, 19:07

Boris Johnson has denied any favouritism towards Jennifer Arcuri
Boris Johnson has denied any favouritism towards Jennifer Arcuri. Picture: YouTube

By Maddie Goodfellow

A grant awarded to a company run by Jennifer Arcuri, the American businesswoman closely linked to Boris Johnson, has been ruled to be "appropriate" in a government review.

A government report has said money allotted to Jennifer Arcuri from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) was not unreasonable.

The report, from the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA), comes after Ms Arcuri denied reports that she received favouritism during Boris Johnson's time as London mayor.

The £100,000 grant was awarded to Ms Arcuri, who is chief executive of Hacker House, after she applied for £273,000 in October 2018 under the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF).

The report said: "Although the initial gateway questions were not considered for the 19 applications received, the rationale for considering all applications was not unreasonable.

"In respect of the grant award to Hacker House Ltd, the assessment of eligibility and subsequent award of a reduced value of £100,000, is considered appropriate."

However, the report did state that there were areas "where questions on the grant application form would have benefited from being clearer."

The Prime Minister has said the investigation is "barking up the wrong tree"
The Prime Minister has said the investigation is "barking up the wrong tree". Picture: PA

Earlier this month, Ms Arcuri spoke about her relationship with Mr Johnson in an interview on ITV's Good Morning Britain.

Speaking about the alleged favouritism, she said: "Never once did I ask him for a favour. Never once did he write a letter of recommendation for me. He didn't know about my asking to go to trips."

A City Hall investigation into the relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri was paused earlier this month following a request by the police watchdog.

They were investigating allegations that during his time as mayor of London, Boris Johnson giving the former model £126,000 in public funding and privileged access to three foreign trade missions.

Mr Johnson has complied with a request for evidence from the committee and the committee has so far agreed with a request from his solicitors for the submitted papers to be kept confidential.

The Prime Minister has previously accused his "old friends" in the London Assembly of "barking up the wrong tree" with their investigation.