Anonymity order over mystery 'unexplained wealth' target lifted

Anonymity order over mystery 'unexplained wealth' target lifted

The case is a test for UWOs, which came into effect earlier this year with the aim of forcing foreign officials suspected of corruption and their families to account for their wealth and make it easier for authorities to seize property and assets.

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.

Mr. Hajiyev was IBA's chairman between 2001 and 2015. She said he had other business interests too, and supplied a 2011 document from a money manager putting her husband's net worth at almost $73 million.

Hajiyeva denies wrongdoing and is fighting to overturn the order and keep her properties.

It prevented her or her husband Jahangir Hajiyev's identification, publication of their country of origin, the bank Mr Hajiyev worked for, and the location of the two properties.

The "McMafia" suspect targeted by Britain's first unexplained wealth order can be identified today as the wife of an Azerbaijani state banker jailed for embezzling more than £100 million.

A Harrods department store in London. He was also ordered to pay the bank $39 million.

Hajiyeva used 35 credit cards linked to her husband's employer, the Bank of Azerbaijan, to finance her lifestyle, the AP reported.

Examples of her big spending, revealed to the court, included £150,000 spent on a single day on Boucheron - a luxury jewellery, perfume and watches brand.

Zamira Hajiyeva
Handout
Zamira Hajiyeva Handout

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).

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

Lawyers for Mrs. Hajiyeva said in a statement provided to PA: "The decision of the High Court upholding the grant of an Unexplained Wealth Order against Zamira Hajiyeva does not and should not be taken to imply any wrong-doing, whether on her part or that of her husband".

"They enable the United Kingdom to more effectively target the problem of money-laundering through prime real estate in London and across the United Kingdom, and we will now seek to move further cases to the High Court".

They noted it is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure.

"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".

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 National Crime Agency said Hajiyeva's spending amounted to $2.1 million a year between 2006 and 2016.

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

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