UK court overturns debt judgment against prime minister

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly question time debate in Parliament in London, Britain, May 12, 2021, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said on Thursday that a court order for him to repay a 535 pound ($752) debt had been cancelled, a day after news of the ruling had raised questions about his personal finances.

"The judgment in default has been set aside by the court. The claim has been struck out, deemed 'totally without merit' and the government awarded its costs," a spokesman for Johnson's office said.

A copy of the original judgment seen by Reuters on Wednesday showed it was made on Oct. 26 and listed as "unsatisfied", meaning it was fully or partly unpaid. The records do not show who made the claim. A new search on Thursday showed no change as yet to this online record.

Johnson's finances have been the subject of extensive scrutiny in recent weeks, with electoral authorities investigating the funding of a refurbishment of his flat, and parliament investigating the declaration he made relating to a donor-funded foreign trip.

A county court judgment is issued when someone submits a claim and judges decide the money needs to be paid. This can be decided by default if the court receives no response to correspondence on the issue.

The register of these judgments is used by banks and other financial institutions to determine an individual's credit rating.

($1 = 0.7118 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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