The husband of an American model and businesswoman who is said to have enjoyed a close friendship with Boris Johnson today blasted 'leaks and innuendo' surrounding the story and said she has left home on a family holiday.
Boris Johnson has faced accusations that he failed to declare potential conflicts of interest over the friendship with Jennifer Arcuri, 34, when he was London Mayor.
But today her husband Matthew Hickey suggested the criticism was 'baseless' and was being promoted by political opponents.
Speaking to MailOnline about his wife, Mr Hickey added: 'She is on vacation with family and asked for privacy. I put her on the plane myself yesterday.'
Ms Arcuri, who is said to have described Mr Johnson as 'one of her best friends', was given thousands of pounds in public money and privileged access to three overseas trade missions.
Jennifer Arcur, 34, posing close to her home in London in July 2013 - she was given thousands in public funds during Boris Johnson's tenure as Mayor of London without declarations of conflict of interest, a report claims
Ms Arcuri (left) is married to Matthew Hickey (right) and according to the Times, the pair live in California
The pair, who have often been photographed together, were regularly seen together at her flat in Shoreditch, sources say
Jennifer Arcuri, 34, is said to have described Boris Johnson as 'one of her best friends.' Sources told the Sunday Times Ms Acuri had a dancing pole (pictured) fitted at her £2,600 a month flat in Shoreditch, East London
Boris Johnson's close friendship with model-turned-technology entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri is under close scrutiny (pictured: Ms Arcuri wearing a dirndl at a tech summit)
Ms Arcuri pouring Mr Johnson a cup of tea at an Innotech event in London
Before moving to the UK in 2011, Jennifer Arcuri, 34, had an entrepreneurial background and also produced a short film, 'La Valise.'
Ms Arcuri, who now lives in California, founded Innotech in 2012.
According to her website, it intended to 'bridge the gap between legislation and innovative technology.'
This led to her next venture, Hacker House, which employs 'renowned ethical hackers' to teach cyber attack simulations to students.
Social media photos show her spending time with the Tory top brass, including Michael Gove and Justine Greening.
In 2016, she spoke at a Tedx event in Liverpool outlining 'why Ethical Hacking is so important in a 21st century economy.'
She described how we could harness the 'disgruntled youth' and steer them away from becoming cyber criminals and into an army using their skills for good.
Ms Arcuri has since become a certified ethical hacker herself.
The Sunday Times claimed that Ms Arcuri's fledgling business received £10,000 in sponsorship cash in 2013 from an organisation the then-mayor was responsible for.
He also reportedly attended numerous events she arranged that promoted a company of hers. Ms Arcuri was in her late twenties at the time.
According to sources, Mr Johnson, 55, would regularly visit her top-floor flat in Shoreditch, East London.
According to the Sunday Times, Ms Arcuri was also given preferential treatment when it came to taking part in Johnson-led overseas trade missions - even though her business had reportedly not met the criteria for three trips she attended in one year.
Initial decisions to reject her for two of those missions were overturned after 'intervention' by Johnson and his mayoral office team, The Sunday Times claimed.
It quoted an internal email revealing how she took part in a New York trade mission after she discussed the issue with the then London mayor who was happy for her to participate.
As mayor, Mr Johnson was required to follow the Greater London Authority's code of conduct 'to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest'.
Ms Arcuri launched Innotech in London seven years ago and was lauded as one of the industry's innovators, while she 'bridged the gap between legislation and innovative technology,' her website says.
The onetime model received a £15,000 Government grant in 2014 under the 'Sirius Programme' designed to encourage overseas entrepreneurs to build businesses in the UK.
The former model's new business received £10,000 in sponsorship from an organisation which Johnson was responsible for as mayor
Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri laugh together during the 'Innotech Official Sizzle 2013' - according to the owner of the