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

London detains wife of jailed Azerbaijani banker

London detains wife of jailed Azerbaijani banker

It said Hajiyeva, 55, was detained by Metropolitan Police last week after an extradition request from authorities in Azerbaijan, where she faces two charges of embezzlement.

Ms Hajiyeva's husband was sentenced to 15 years in an Azerbaijan jail in 2016, after he was convicted for embezzlement having defrauded the bank of up to $3.9 billion.

Zamira Hajiyeva is the first person to be subject to an Unexplained Wealth Order, a measure aimed at curbing London's status as a haven for ill-gotten gains.

Zamira Hajiyeva is the subject of the first two unexplained wealth orders (UWO) obtained by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), and has been ordered to explain how she paid for two properties worth £22 million ($29 million) in total, Britain's Press Association reported in October. While he languished in a prison cell, she had continued to live in London where she spent £16m in the upmarket Harrods store over a decade, court documents revealed last month.

Her lawyer described her arrest as "an appalling shock" to her, according to the Financial Times.

Under the order, the NCA can apply to court to seize property when a suspected corrupt foreign official, or their family, cannot identify a legitimate source of the funds used for buying it.

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

Mrs Hajiyeva is at the centre of an inquiry by the National Crime Agency into dirty overseas cash.

Hajiyeva, who was not in court, must also report to a central London police station every day, has surrendered her passport and is banned from travelling outside London's M25 ring road.

Last week the agency, which investigates cross-border and organised crime, seized 49 items of jewellery worth £400,000 from Christie's auction house, where Hajiyeva's daughter had taken them to be valued.

Hajiyeva denies wrongdoing and is fighting to overturn the order and hang on to her assets. A High Court judge ruled on Thursday that there were no "substantial grounds" to refuse her bail. The Azerbaijani woman must explain how she afforded the assets in question, otherwise she could lose them.

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