Police arrest woman who spent £16m in Harrods

08 Novembre, 2018, 04:13 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

A woman who spent £16m in Harrods and was the target of the UK's first unexplained wealth order has been arrested and faces extradition, it has been reported.

Zamira Hajiyeva was identified last month after a failed attempt to appeal against the legal order, which forces her to explain to the National Crime Agency (NCA) how she was able to obtain an £11.5m property in Knightsbridge, central London.

Metropolitan Police told CNN that Hajiyeva is wanted by Azerbaijan in relation to fraud offences and that the 55-year-old appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court on October 30.

The UWO is a new power given to law enforcement agencies this year to tackle suspected corruption.

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.

Hajiyev's husband Jahangir was jailed in 2016 for embezzling money from the International Bank of Azerbaijan, where he was chairman.

She faces two charges of embezzlement and has been been held in custody since giving herself up voluntarily last Tuesday.

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But prosecutors challenged the decision and she was detained in custody, being deemed a flight risk.

Her lawyers say she is no "fraudster".

Hugo Keith QC added that her children were based in the United Kingdom, where she has also lived for nearly a decade having left Azerbaijan after surviving a violent kidnapping.

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 will appeal the decision to refuse her bail at London's High Court on Thursday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

The court of appeal heard she made the purchases on three Harrods customer loyalty cards, using 35 credit cards from the International Bank of Azerbaijan, her husband's bank.

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.

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