Woman who spent £16m in Harrods revealed

Rex Christensen
October 11, 2018

Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of former International Bank of Azerbaijan Chairman Jahangir Hajiyev, was named Wednesday as the recipient of two "unexplained wealth orders" issued by a United Kingdom court in February.

Her lawyers added that the order "is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and it does not involve the finding of any criminal offense", according to the AP.

Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of a jailed banker from Azerbaijan, is being asked to explain her "unexplained wealth" thanks to a new anti-corruption enforcement scheme created to target organized crime figures and others with foreign government ties.

The Harrods name is illuminated in lights on the front of the department store in Knightsbridge on November 29, 2017, in London.

For instance, the BBC reports, the London resident owns two properties valued at about $29 million and a Gulfstream jet worth more than $40 million, and she's had the resources to spend some $21 million at the London department store Harrods over the past decade.

LONDON-The wife of a jailed Azerbaijani banker has been ordered to explain how she and her husband could afford their multimillion-pound London mansion or face having it seized, in the first case using new United Kingdom investigative powers.

Her identity can now be published after an anonymity order was lifted by a judge, who ruled "no good case" had been made for its extension.

However, it was Hajiyeva's spending and the court case against her husband that alerted Britain's National Crime Agency who began to investigate.

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

Hajiyeva denied wrongdoing and is fighting to overturn the order and hang onto her properties.

At an earlier court hearing, a lawyer for the NCA gave details of her spending at Harrods, a large chunk of it using 35 credit cards issued by her husband's bank.

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How much money did the couple bring to the UK?

In 2013, another company controlled by Mrs Hajiyeva spent more than £10m buying Mill Ride Golf Club in Berkshire, a plush course and estate near Ascot.

"Unexplained Wealth Orders have the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the United Kingdom as a destination for illicit income", Toon said.

Official records reveal the couple also own two dedicated bays within the private Harrods vehicle park and Mrs Hajiyeva also bought a $42m Gulfstream G550 jet.

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

'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 is asking the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in his case.

Last week the Gazette reported that Mr Justice Supperstone had dismissed an attempt by the woman, known as "Mrs A", to throw out the National Crime Agency's (NCA) application for an unexplained wealth order (UWO).

What is an Unexplained Wealth Order?

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

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