Woman who spent $21M at Harrods arrested, faces extradition

A woman whose husband is a jailed state banker in Azerbaijan and who spent £16 million ($21 million) over a...

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 1:30 PM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 1:30 PM

A woman whose husband is a jailed state banker in Azerbaijan and who spent £16 million ($21 million) over a decade at the luxury department store Harrods, has been arrested and faces extradition.

Zamira Hajiyeva is the subject of the first two unexplained wealth orders (UWO) obtained by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), and has been ordered to explain how she paid for two properties worth £22 million ($29 million) in total, Britain's Press Association reported in October.

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Metropolitan Police told CNN that Hajiyeva is wanted by Azerbaijan in relation to fraud offences and that the 55-year-old appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court on October 30.

The UWO is a new power given to law enforcement agencies this year to tackle suspected corruption.

It requires those "reasonably suspected of involvement" or "being connected to a person involved" in a serious crime to explain how their property was obtained, if their lawful income appears to be insufficient to afford it.

Hajiyeva lost a court fight in October to avoid being named in the court proceedings after a judge ruled that "no good case" had been made for extending it, PA said.

The Azerbaijani woman must explain how she afforded the assets in question, otherwise she could lose them. One property is worth around £11.5 million ($15.1 million) and is located in the exclusive London neighborhood of Knightsbridge -- the same area as Harrods.

Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was chairman of the state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until his resignation in 2015. He was later sentenced to 15 years on fraud and embezzlement charges, PA reported.

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