Woman who spent £16m at Harrods bailed at extradition hearing

Zamira Hajiyeva

Zamira Hajiyeva was arrested last week by police acting on an extradition request from authorities in Azerbaijan

There, Hajiyeva's lavish lifestyle made her the first target of new legislation created to target suspected corrupt foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through Britain.

Hajiyeva's local shop was posh department store Harrods, where British investigators say she spent 16 million pounds ($21 million) over the course of a decade, using 35 credit cards issued by a bank led by her husband.

Hajiyeva, 55, is the first person to be subject to an Unexplained Wealth Order, a measure introduced by the U.K.at the beginning of the year in a bid to curb London's status as a haven for ill-gotten gains.

Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was chairman of the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan; in 2016, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of fraud and embezzlement.

However, prosecutors appealed the decision, meaning she will remain in custody pending an appeal on November 8.

Mrs Hajiyeva, who lives in a £15m house near to the London store, is wanted by the authorities in Azerbaijan for an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Azerbaijani national bank.

People who fail to account for the sources of their assets 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.

Senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot agreed that Mrs Hajiyeva could be released on bail as long as she pays £500,000 as a guarantee, stays at her home in Knightsbridge, does not travel outside the M25 and reports to police every day.

She is now in an isolation cell and her extradition to Azerbaijan is under consideration.

On Oct. 30, the National Crime Agency seized more than 400,000 pounds worth of jewelry, and she has been ordered by the courts to explain how she could afford property worth 22 million pounds in the UK.

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

They said the UWO was part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and did not involve the finding of any criminal offence, and they said an application to appeal against the judge's order had been filed.

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