Anonymity order over mystery 'unexplained wealth' target lifted

Anonymity order over mystery 'unexplained wealth' target lifted

Woman who spent £16 million in Harrods named as first person investigated under new 'suspicious wealth' orders

Hajiyeva's husband Jahangir Hajiyev, who was chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, the country's only state-owned bank, from 2001 to 2015, was convicted of fraud and embezzlement in October 2016 and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

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".

Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of a jailed banker from Azerbaijan, is being asked to explain her "unexplained wealth" thanks to a new anti-corruption enforcement scheme created to target organized crime figures and others with foreign government ties.

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.

She also bought a house close to the store - and a golf course in Berkshire.

The case marks Britain's first use of Unexplained Wealth Orders, introduced this year to curb London's status as a haven for ill-gotten gains. A, but a court order granting her anonymity was lifted Wednesday.

Mrs Hajiyeva's lawyers said the UWO "does not and should not be taken to imply any wrong-doing", by her or her husband.

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.

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

How much money did the couple bring to the UK?

Mrs Hajiyeva used three store loyalty cards and 35 credit cards issued by her husband's bank.

However, a judge agreed to the anonymity order pending an appeal against the ruling.

Hajiyeva faces an Unexplained Wealth Order relating to her $20 million, five-bedroomed home in the tony neighbourhood of Knightsbridge and the $18 million Mill Ride Golf Club near Ascot. Transparency International says it has identified £4.4 billion ($5.8 billion) in United Kingdom property bought with suspicious wealth, while other anticorruption campaigners have sought to highlight the problem by taking journalists on "kleptocracy tours" around London's swankiest streets. His lawyers say that he fell out with Azerbaijan's corrupt ruling family and paid the price. However, documents submitted to the court showed IBA was established as a state-owned bank and the finance ministry's stake was above 50% during Mr. Hajiyev's tenure.

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).

A UWO is a new power which has been created to target suspected corrupt foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through the UK.

Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) successfully applied for an UWO in February against Hajiyeva after demanding she reveal the source of her wealth or risk losing the properties.

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