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13 October 2018, 03:33 | Anna Jefferson
The case marks Britain's first use of Unexplained Wealth Orders
In his judgment, Mr Justice Supperstone stated that "three separate loyalty cards were issued to Mrs A" by department store Harrods, where she spent more than £16 million between September 2006 and June 2016.
Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of an Azerbaijani banker who was jailed for a massive fraud on his country's state-owned bank, is in the spotlight as the first person hit with an unexplained wealth order in the UK.
Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) successfully applied for an UWO in February against Hajiyeva after demanding she reveal the source of her wealth or risk losing the properties.
Zamira Hajiyeva lost an appeal last week against a High Court ruling forcing her to reveal how she was able to afford two properties in Britain worth a combined £22m.
Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of a jailed banker from Azerbaijan, is being asked to explain her "unexplained wealth" thanks to a new anti-corruption enforcement scheme created to target organized crime figures and others with foreign government ties.
She is now facing the possibility of losing assets including her two United Kingdom properties.
Mrs Hajiyeva has made clear her intention to engage fully in the judicial process, and will present her case to the court as appropriate through her lawyers. He has been ordered to pay back $39 million. On another visit to the store, she spent £100,000 on jewellery from Cartier.
It prevented her or her husband Jahangir Hajiyev's identification, publication of their country of origin, the bank Mr Hajiyev worked for, and the location of the two properties.
She also travelled the world in a Gulfstream private jet, drinking the finest wines and wearing expensive jewellery.
Now, UK authorities can at will demand to know the providence of that wealth.
The most interesting aspect of last week's High Court ruling is the limited scope it provides for...
"The UK has been long identified as a safe haven for corrupt money and despite successive governments recognising this, money-launderers have continued to hide their ill-gotten gains here", said Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK.
'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. Hajiyeva has denied any wrongdoing.
Jonathan Hall QC, who is representing the NCA, said: "as a state employee between 1993 and 2015, it is very unlikely that such a position would have generated sufficient income to fund the acquisition of the property". It all adds up to Hajiyeva becoming the first ever target of the UK's new Unexplained Wealth Order power, which targets foreign officials suspected of laundering stolen money through the UK.
What is an Unexplained Wealth Order?
Investigators from the National Crime Agency believe there are billions of pounds of dirty money invested in British property - but it is nearly impossible to charge the owners with a crime or seize the assets because of a lack of evidence.
UWOs, used by the National Crime Agency, were introduced in January in an attempt to crack down on so-called McMafia crime.
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