Entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri said it was known that Boris Johnson had a “crush” on her, but denied her relationship with the former London mayor helped her secure access to foreign trade missions.
The American’s links with the now Prime Minister came under public scrutiny last year over allegations she received favourable treatment for her business ventures during his eight-year stint as mayor.
Ms Arcuri made fresh allegations earlier this year to the Sunday Mirror that she and Mr Johnson had a four-year romantic relationship when he was in power in City Hall.
On Tuesday, Ms Arcuri gave evidence to the Greater London Authority’s oversight committee in a bid to explain her links with the administration run by Mr Johnson at the time.
Asked who in the mayor’s office knew about their relationship, the technology expert suggested there were “at least three high-profile figures” who were in the loop.
Appearing via video link, she told the committee: “People knew there was an interest (from) the mayor in me, that he had somewhat of a crush on me.
“When we went to events, everyone could see the dramatic difference (in) this man when I entered the room.
“People kind of assumed what they wanted, but there was never any discussion about any of it.”
But Ms Arcuri said later during the evidence session that her relationship with Mr Johnson had “really no bearing” on her business interests in the capital.
She confirmed she went on a trade mission to Malaysia and Singapore as a result of her City Hall links, but denied being formally part of similar trips to New York in the US and Tel Aviv in Israel even though she was in both cities at the same time as trade delegates.
Asked about her appearance at events in New York, Ms Arcuri said she was already in the US city and “wanted to go to some events with my London friends” while they were there looking to secure extra business.
The Prime Minister’s alleged links with Ms Arcuri have dogged his time in Downing Street.
Mr Johnson avoided a criminal investigation after the police watchdog found no evidence he had influenced the payment of thousands of pounds of public money to Ms Arcuri or secured her participation in foreign trade trips he led.
However, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IOPC) said it “would have been wise” for the former mayor to have declared their “close association” as a conflict of interest.
The Greater London Authority’s (GLA) oversight committee is probing whether he conducted himself in a way that is expected of people in public office.
Mr Johnson has said his dealings with Ms Arcuri were “done with complete propriety” and previously welcomed the IOPC findings, as he criticised the “vexatious claims” against him.