Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Zamira Hajiyeva arrested in London Society 6 November 22:02

Zamira Hajiyeva arrested in London Society 6 November 22:02

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).

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 global corruption.

Mrs Hajiyeva, who lives in an £11.5 million home in Knightsbridge near to Harrods, became the first person to be served a UWO - dubbed McMafia laws - by the National Crime Agency (NCA) last month.

She is also the subject of a separate investigation in her home country of Azerbaijan, where her husband, former International Bank of Azerbaijan Chairman Jahangir Hajiyev, was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2016 for fraud and embezzlement.

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

People who fail to account for the sources of their funds are liable to have assets seized.

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.

After a brief court appearance at Westminster Magistrates' Court she swapped her £15million Knightsbridge mansion for a prison cell as her bid for bail was blocked.

At a bail hearing, prosecutors argued that she should not be released, claiming she posed a flight risk.

She is now in an isolation cell and her extradition to Azerbaijan is under consideration. In addition, the Agency revealed she's got nearly 50 items of jewellery, put up for sale by auction house Christie's.

Ms Hajiyeva also bought an $20.7 million five-bedroom home which, according to UK's The Guardian, was roughly 90 metres from the Harrods doors.

Hajiyeva denies wrongdoing and is fighting to overturn the order and hang on to her assets.

Her being subject to the order, "does not and should not be taken to imply any wrong-doing, whether on her part or that of her husband", her legal team said in a statement in October.

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