Published: Sat, November 10, 2018

Woman who spent $29m at Harrods fights United Kingdom extradition

Woman who spent $29m at Harrods fights United Kingdom extradition

NCA demanded an explanation of money origin from a foreign citizen.

The arrest is the latest legal woe for Zamira Hajiyeva who faces the loss of two United Kingdom properties worth £22 million (Dh106.1m) in the first use of a new British police tactic aimed at tackling high-level worldwide corruption.

Hajiyeva, 55, is the first person to be subject to an Unexplained Wealth Order, a measure introduced by the United Kingdom at the beginning of the year in a bid to curb London's status as a haven for ill-gotten gains.

Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was chairman of the state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until his resignation in 2015.

She is now in custody after having her bail request turned down. She will will appeal the decision to refuse her bail at London's High Court today, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

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

This year, a court heard how Hajiyeva had spent more than £16m at Harrods over a 10-year period.

Her legal team argued that she was a "spendthrift" - not "a fraudster". The orders allow authorities to seize assets from people suspected of corruption or links to organised crime until the owners account for how they were acquired.

She has been ordered to explain how she funds her lifestyle, which includes a £16million bill at Harrods over ten years.

Senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot agreed that Mrs Hajiyeva could be released on bail as long as she pays £500,000 as a guarantee, stays at her home in Knightsbridge, does not travel outside the M25 and reports to police every day.

Mrs Hajiyeva, who lives in a £15m house near to the London store, is wanted by the authorities in Azerbaijan for an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Azerbaijani national bank.

The wife of a crooked banker who blew £16million shopping at Harrods is fighting extradition to her homeland.

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

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