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Zamira Hajiyeva first person to be subjected to unexplained wealth order

13 October 2018

Zamira Hajiyeva lost an appeal last week against a High Court ruling forcing her to reveal how she was able to afford two properties in Britain worth a combined £22m.

Wine: Hajiyev spent £1,800 on vintages from Harrods' wine department. Failure to do so, the BBC reported, would result in her losing her properties.

"Unexplained wealth orders have the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the United Kingdom as a destination for illicit income", said Donald Toon, director for economic crime at the NCA.

Now, authorities suspect she was spending money embezzled by her husband the whole time - and they want answers.

'On Mrs Hajiyeva's behalf, an application for permission to appeal against the order of Mr Justice Supperstone was filed on October 8 2018.

Mr Hajiyev was the chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan.

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.

He was slapped with a 15-year prison term and ordered to repay more than $52million. A, but a court order granting her anonymity was lifted Wednesday.

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.

Increased tensions with Russian Federation, following the attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, has also placed pressure on the United Kingdom to act against wealthy exiles suspected who have made London their home using the proceeds of plundered industries.

How much money did the couple bring to the UK? On another visit to the store, she spent £100,000 on jewellery from Cartier.

Mr Toon added that other eight people now being pursued by the agency under the Unexplained Wealth Order powers came from Africa, South Asia, states with in the former Soviet Union and Russian Federation.

"The UK has been long identified as a safe haven for corrupt money and despite successive governments recognising this, money-launderers have continued to hide their ill-gotten gains here", said Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK.

'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'.

Does Mrs Hajiyeva admit doing anything wrong?

The most interesting aspect of last week's High Court ruling is the limited scope it provides for...

"The NCA's case is that the UWO is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and it does not involve the finding of any criminal offence". Hajiyeva has denied any wrongdoing.

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

Asked who would then have a right to claim that wealth, he said: "Ultimately, that becomes a political and worldwide issue".

Jonathan Hall QC, who is representing the NCA, said: "as a state employee between 1993 and 2015, it is very unlikely that such a position would have generated sufficient income to fund the acquisition of the property".

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.

Azerbaijan-born Zamira Hajiyeva, who lived in a luxurious property in the wealthy London suburb of Knightsbridge, is being investigated by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA).

The new Unexplained Wealth Orders are an attempt to force the owners to disclose their wealth. If they cannot offer a reasonable explanation, the National Crime Agency can apply to the High Court to seize the property.

Zamira Hajiyeva first person to be subjected to unexplained wealth order