Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Mystery woman who spent £16m in Harrods

Anonymity order over mystery 'unexplained wealth' target lifted Woman who spent £16 million in Harrods named as first person investigated under new 'suspicious wealth' orders
Shannon Reynolds | 13 October, 2018, 03:34

A second, first-of-its-kind Unexplained Wealth Order was also filed in relation to her ownership of a $13.5 million golf course, purchased through a different company.

Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of an Azerbaijani banker who was jailed for a massive fraud on his country's state-owned bank, is in the spotlight as the first person hit with an unexplained wealth order in the UK.

It can now be revealed that Zamira is the wife of Jahangir Hajiyev, the former chairman of the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for defrauding the bank out of 5bn manat (£2.2bn).

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.

Investigators from the National Crime Agency believe there are billions of pounds of dirty money invested in British property, reported the BBC, but it is nearly impossible to charge the owners with a crime or seize the assets because of a lack of evidence. She said he had other business interests too, and supplied a 2011 document from a money manager putting her husband's net worth at almost $73 million. He has been ordered to pay back $39 million.

Other items on her luxury shopping list include Cartier jewellery worth $186,000, men's goods worth $37,000, an $18.6million golf club in Berkshire, England and a $58million jet. "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. The NCA told the court that she "boasted a wine cellar stocked with some of the world's most expensive bottles", says The Guardian.

Campaigning group Transparency International said that it has identified property worth £4.4 billion in the United Kingdom purchased from suspicious wealth.

The NCA had alleged Hajiyeva bought two properties using money embezzled by her husband when he worked for the IBA.

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Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK, said the pressure group was "delighted" at the use of the Unexplained Wealth Order. Hajiyeva has denied any wrongdoing.

"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".

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

A UWO is a new power which has been created to target suspected corrupt foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through the UK.

Azerbaijan-born Zamira Hajiyeva, who lived in a luxurious property in the wealthy London suburb of Knightsbridge, is being investigated by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA).

If a suspected corrupt foreign official, or their family, cannot show a legitimate source for their riches, then the National Crime Agency can apply to the High Court to seize the property.

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