Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Woman who spent $21 mln at Harrods faces extradition hearing

Harrods department Store in Knightsbridge where Hajiyeva is said to have spent more than £16 million over a decade Police arrest woman who spent £16m in Harrods
Patty Aguilar | 10 November, 2018, 04:36

Separately, she is under scrutiny by Britain's National Crime Agency, who issued a so-called Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) demanding that she explain where she got the £11.5 million to pay for her property in Knightsbridge.

The woman targeted by Britain's first Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), who spent £16 million (RM66.43 million) in department store Harrods, will appear in court today as she fights an extradition request by Azerbaijan, prosectors said yesterday.

The National Crime Agency accused Ms Hajiyeva of fleeing her home country to avoid criminal investigations.

Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, who was formerly chair of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, is now serving a 15-year prison sentence in Azerbaijan for his part in embezzling $138 million. A High Court judge ruled Thursday that there were no "substantial grounds" to refuse her bail.

But prosecutors challenged the decision and she was detained in custody, being deemed a flight risk.

Over the course of a decade, the 55-year-old spent up big at the department store, with a court hearing she bought $180,000 worth of Cartier jewellery.

People who fail to account for the sources of their funds are liable to have assets seized.

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Police first went after Mrs Hajiyeva in February but her lawyers had claimed that her husband was the victim of an unfair trial.

Mrs Hajiyeva was only known as Mrs A until a judge lifted an anonymity order last month.

Mrs Hajiyeva's release on bail is subject to a £500,000 bond and arrangements for an electronic tagging device to be installed at her Knightsbridge home.

Last week the agency, which investigates cross-border and organised crime, seized 49 items of jewellery worth £400,000 from Christie's auction house, where Hajiyeva's daughter had taken them to be valued.

Her husband was convicted in 2016 of defrauding a state-controlled Azerbaijan bank, which he once ran, out of millions of pounds.

Her lawyers have said the wealth order "is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and it does not involve the finding of any criminal offense".

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