Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Woman fights United Kingdom wealth order after spending $21m at Harrods

Woman fights United Kingdom wealth order after spending $21m at Harrods

Lawyers for Mrs Hajiyeva said in a statement: The decision of the High Court upholding the grant of an unexplained wealth order against Zamira Hajiyeva does not and should not be taken to imply any wrongdoing, whether on her part or that of her husband.

Shortly after stepping down, Azerbaijani prosecutors charged him with fraud and embezzlement and in 2016 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

He emphasized that the Unexplained Wealth Orders could significantly reduce the appeal of the United Kingdom as a destination for illicit income and enable the country to more effectively target money laundering through prime real estate in London and across the UK.

At the High Court last week, Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed her application to discharge the UWO, and also discharged an anonymity order preventing the identification of her and her husband, their country of origin, the bank Mr Hajiyev worked for, and the two properties.

The wife of a corrupt banker jailed in Azerbaijan for 15 years faces the loss of two properties worth £22 million in the first use of new British police tactic aimed at tackling high-level global corruption.

If she is unable to prove the legitimate source of the funds, Zamira risks having the properties seized.

Records show she has spent £16 million in the store over the past 10 years, including £150,000 on jewellery in a day.

Hajiyeva said in a witness statement that her husband was a man of substantial means. Judges also ordered him to repay $39m. On another visit to the store, she spent £100,000 on jewellery from Cartier.

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Hajiyeva used 35 credit cards linked to her husband's employer, the Bank of Azerbaijan, to finance her lifestyle, the AP reported. The NCA told the court that she "boasted a wine cellar stocked with some of the world's most expensive bottles", says The Guardian.

"UWOs should now be used more widely to pursue more of the £4.4 billion worth of suspicious wealth we have identified across the United Kingdom", he said.

"The UK has been long identified as a safe haven for corrupt money and despite successive governments recognising this, money-launderers have continued to hide their ill-gotten gains here", said Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK.

The failure of her attempt to throw out the case in the courts last week was hailed as a significant victory for the authorities who have vowed to expand the use of the tactic.

'The NCA's case is that the UWO is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and it does not involve the finding of any criminal offence. "A" in court filings, Hajiyeva had her named publicly released this week after she lost a court appeal to stay anonymous while she defends herself on two Unexplained Wealth Orders related to her spending and real-estate holdings.

Mr. Hajiyev was IBA's chairman between 2001 and 2015.

The National Crime Agency said Hajiyeva's spending amounted to $2.1 million a year between 2006 and 2016. If they cannot offer a reasonable explanation, the National Crime Agency can apply to the High Court to seize the property.

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