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Woman who spent $21M at Harrods bailed, fights extradition

10 November 2018

Britain's National Crime Agency wants to know where Hajiyeva got the money to fund her Harrods shopping sprees and buy two United Kingdom properties worth 22 million pounds ($29 million).

The woman targeted by Britain's first Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), who spent £16 million (RM66.43 million) in department store Harrods, will appear in court today as she fights an extradition request by Azerbaijan, prosectors said yesterday.

Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was chairman of the state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until his resignation in 2015. 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 legal team argued that she was a "spendthrift" - not "a fraudster".

At the same time, the decision was challenged by the Prosecutor, so Hajiyev will remain under arrest during the pendency of the appeal - until November 8.

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. The orders allow authorities to seize assets from people suspected of corruption or links to organized crime until the owners account for how they were acquired.

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But judge Jeremy Baker at London's High Court ruled there were not "substantial grounds" to believe she would leave the country.

UWOs are an investigative power only available to the National Crime Agency, Revenue and Customs, the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Fraud Office, or the Crown Prosecution Service.

Last week, the agency seized jewellery belonging to her family that was worth more than £400,000 and was due to be auctioned at Christie's auction house.

The wife of a disgraced banker jailed in Azerbaijan for 15 years has been arrested in London and faces extradition.

The UWO means she has to explain the origin of her fortune.

Hajiyeva denies wrongdoing and is fighting to overturn the order and hang on to her assets.

Woman who spent $21M at Harrods bailed, fights extradition