07 Nov 07.11.2018 Zamira Hajiyeva, target of the UK’s first unexplained wealth order has reportedly been arrested and faces extradition
07.11.2018 Zamira Hajiyeva, target of the UK’s first unexplained wealth order has reportedly been arrested and faces extradition
Zamira Hajiyeva is the wife of Jahangir Hajiyev, an ex-state banker who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for embezzling billions from the International Bank of Azerbaijan.
Ms Hajiyeva, who was the subject of the UK’s first unexplained wealth order (UWO),which means she has to explain the source of her fortune, including an £11.5 million house in Knightsbridge,has reportedly been arrested and faces extradition.
It was revealed at Westminster Magistrates Court in London that Mrs Hajiyeva was arrested by the Metropolitan police last week, after an extradition request from the authorities of Baku, Azerbaijan.
Mrs Hajiyeva faces two charges of embezzlement and has been held in custody since last week when the UK government issued an arrest warrant in relation to the extradition request form the government of Azerbaijan.
Judge Arbuthnot, at Westminster magistrates court, ruled that Mrs Hajiyeva could be released on bail if she stays at her Knightsbridge home, reports daily to the police and pays a £500,000 bond. However, the decision was immediately challenged by the Crown Prosecution Service, acting for Azerbaijani government. Thereby, Mrs Hajiyeva will remain in custody until an appeal hearing next week.
Mrs Hajiyeva also remains under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Last week, the NCA seized jewellery worth more than £400,000, and was due to be auctioned at Christie’s auction house, in connection with the case. The NCA explained that the source of funds used to purchase the jewellery, including a £120,000 Boucheron necklace, required further investigation.
Zamira Hajiyeva has denied any wrongdoing. Her legal team said: “The decision of the high court upholding the grant of an unexplained wealth order against Zamira Hajiyeva does not and should not be taken to imply any wrongdoing, whether on her part or that of her husband.”
“The NCA’s case is that the UWO is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and it does not involve the finding of any criminal offence.”