Woman who spent US$21M at Harrods fights U.K. wealth order

Paola Ditto
Октября 11, 2018

He was jailed in 2016 for 15 years after being convicted of being part of a major fraud and embezzlement that saw tens of millions of pounds disappear from the bank.

They said the order "is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and it does not involve the finding of any criminal offence".

Mrs. Hajiyeva told the United Kingdom court her husband was a man "of substantial means" at the time of the purchase of the house but records in the court case showed his bank salary was around $70,000.

According to the United Kingdom judicial ruling last week, the Hajiyevs bought the house in the upscale Knightsbridge neighborhood of London in 2009 through a British Virgin Islands company, paying around £4 million of the £11.5 million purchase price upfront.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Supperstone stated that "three separate loyalty cards were issued to Mrs Hajiyeva" by department store Harrods, where she spent more than £16 million between September 2006 and June 2016.

The wife of a jailed Azerbaijani banker can be revealed as the subject of the UK's first unexplained wealth orders. A, but a court order granting her anonymity was lifted Wednesday.

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

File photo of Jahangir Hajiyev, chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan at the time, speaking during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China, Sept. 15, 2011. Judges also ordered him to repay $39m.

How much money did the couple bring to the UK? Another company linked to them bought the golf estate in 2013.

However, a judge agreed to the anonymity order pending an appeal against the ruling. Unless her appeal succeeds, she will have to explain further the source of the wealth used to pay for the home and the golf club just outside London.

Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK, said: "We are delighted that this first case is progressing in court, underlining the effectiveness of Unexplained Wealth Orders in targeting suspicious wealth".

"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.

During her unsuccessful challenge to the Unexplained Wealth Order, Mrs Hajiyeva said her husband was a legitimate businessman who had become independently wealthy thanks to a string of successful businesses, before becoming a chairman at the bank. The U.K. National Crime Agency, which brought the action against Mrs. Hajiyeva, estimates hundreds of billions of pounds of global crime proceeds are laundered through the country and its banks each year.

What is an Unexplained Wealth Order?

"Unexplained wealth orders have the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the United Kingdom as a destination for illicit income".

The crime agency argued the lavish spending was a sign the money was ill-gotten.

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