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UK’s Johnson yet to pay debt despite court order

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A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attending Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in a socially distanced, hybrid session at the House of Commons, in central London on March 24, 2021. (Photo by JESSICA TAYLOR / various sources / AFP) /

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose personal finances are under scrutiny after a series of scandals, has failed to pay a small debt more than six months after a court order, documents showed Wednesday.

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An online database of civil county court judgments in England and Wales showed Johnson has yet to settle the debt of £535 ($757, 624 euros) following a ruling on October 26 last year.

The judgment, first reported by the fortnightly satirical and news magazine Private Eye, and seen by AFP, does not reveal details about the nature of the debt or the creditor.

Johnson is named as the debtor and lists his address as 10 Downing Street — the home of prime ministers since 1735 and one of the country’s most well-known residences.

There was no immediate response from Johnson’s office to media requests about the issue.

But the Conservative leader’s personal finances have been increasingly in the spotlight in recent weeks.

The Electoral Commission, which regulates party and election finance, is probing how he paid for a lavish makeover of his Downing Street flat.

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The investigation follows reports that a rich Conservative backer stumped up a donation of £58,000 which was not reported correctly.

Johnson has insisted he paid for the costs of refurbishment on top of an annual government allowance, and denied any wrongdoing or lack of transparency.

But the issue is also being investigated by several other watchdogs and officials.

Britain’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is also probing how the 56-year-old British leader paid for a luxury Caribbean holiday in late 2019.

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Meanwhile, newspapers reported earlier this month that Conservative donors were approached to cover the cost of a nanny for Johnson’s one-year-old son Wilfred.

Media reports said he was struggling with his finances since becoming prime minister, after having to give up previously lucrative roles as a newspaper columnist and after-dinner speaker.

Johnson is reportedly already on a “last warning” from parliament’s standards committee following numerous previous breaches of its code of conduct for lawmakers.

In 2019 he was found to have withheld details of a property he partly owned in southwest England.

The previous year officials deemed he was late registering his financial interests on four occasions involving nine payments, according to The Times.

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