Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Woman who spent £16,000,000 in Harrods is arrested and faces extradition

Harrods department Store in Knightsbridge where Hajiyeva is said to have spent more than £16 million over a decade Police arrest woman who spent £16m in Harrods
Steven Clarke | 10 November, 2018, 04:37

Zamira Hajiyeva was arrested in London last week after an extradition request from Baku, where she faces two charges of embezzlement.

She was granted bail last Tuesday but prosecutors lodged an appeal, arguing that she posed a flight risk.

Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, who was formerly chair of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, is now serving a 15-year prison sentence in Azerbaijan for his part in embezzling $138 million.

Mrs Hajiyeva, who lives in a £15m house near the London store, became the first person to be served a UWO by the National Crime Agency last month.

Britain's National Crime Agency wants to know where Hajiyeva got the money to fund her Harrods shopping sprees and buy two United Kingdom properties worth 22 million pounds ($29 million). She will will appeal the decision to refuse her bail at London's High Court today, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

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

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But her lawyers said she is no "fraudster" - just a "spendthrift" - and was not likely to flee the country because her children were based in the UK.

Mrs Hajiyeva's release on bail is subject to a £500,000 bond and arrangements for an electronic tagging device to be installed at her Knightsbridge home.

Her husband was the chairman of the state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until his resignation in 2015, and was subsequently jailed for fraud and embezzlement. In addition, the Agency revealed she's got nearly 50 items of jewellery, put up for sale by auction house Christie's. 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.

Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed her application to discharge the UWO, as well as an anonymity order preventing the identity of her and her husband, their country of origin, the bank her husband worked for, and the two properties.

Ms Hajiyeva's legal team sought to overturn the Unexplained Wealth Order so she could retain ownership of her properties.

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