Unexplained Wealth Order

Mrs Zamira Hajiyeva is known for a lavish lifestyle and large spending sprees. However she has provided no explanation regarding the source of her seemingly endless funds. Mrs Hajiyeva had extradition proceedings brought against her by the Government of Azerbaijan, her native country, however, the UK blocked the proceedings in order to prevent an unfair trial. Additionally, Mrs Hajiyeva’s husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was convicted of fraud and embezzling from a state-owned bank in Azerbaijan and is serving a 15 year custodial sentence.

The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) investigated Mrs Hajiyeva for her excessive spending in particular spending £16 million at Harrods within the last decade including £600,000 in a single purchase. The NCA successfully secured two Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO) against Mrs Hajiyera. This was a fundamental decision, as it was the first UWO to be granted. An UWO allows the NCA to seize someone’s assets if they believe they are a politically exposed person. According the Court of Appeal, Mr Hajiyeva is a politically exposed person as he held a position of power by being the chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan making him liable to corruption or bribery. Mrs Hajiyeva is a politically exposed person as she is a family member of Mr Hajiyeva and has refused to reveal the source of her funds.

Mrs Hajiyeva denied all wrongdoing and unsuccessfully attempted to appeal the UWO claiming that her husband’s trial was unfair because he was not a politically exposed person, arguing that the International Bank of Azerbaijan was not state-owned but rather merely had state shareholders. Mrs Hajiyera’s lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court to hear an appeal however the application was rejected thus leaving Mrs Hajiyera with no further appeal routes. Mrs Hajiyera will now have to provide the requested information to the NCA revealing the source of her funds. Having failed to do so the NCA will seize her property in Knightsbridge which was purchased for £11.5 million in 2009 using an offshore bank account. In addition, the NCA has jewellery worth over £400,000 from Christie’s auction house which was held for Mrs Hajiyeva’s daughter.

Please contact John Szepietowski at Audley Chaucer for details on this matter or any other legal topic www.audleychaucer.com


Larissa Borgi

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