Zamira Hajiyeva, wife of jailed banker, named as subject of 'McMafia' order

Zamira Hajiyeva

Zamira Hajiyeva

The orders allow authorities to seize assets over 50,000 pounds ($66,000) from people suspected of corruption or links to organized crime until the owners account for how they were acquired.

She owns an £11m house and a golf course, and spent over £16m at Harrods.

Jahangir Hajiyev is the former chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan. The measure protecting her anonymity and other details of the case were lifted Wednesday.

"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".

Mrs Hajiyeva was issued with the first two unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) to be obtained by the National Crime Agency against two properties worth £22m in total.

Her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was the former head of state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 to 2015.

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. Judges also ordered him to repay $39m.

London UK. Harrods is the biggest department store in Europe
Image The wife of the jailed banker had three separate Harrods loyalty cards

Seven years earlier, a company based in the British Virgin Islands paid £11.5m for a large home, just minutes' walk from Harrods in west London.

Mrs Hajiyeva used three store loyalty cards and 35 credit cards issued by her husband's bank. Between 2006 and 2016, Hajiyeva spent more than £16 million including £1,800 (£3,000) on wine and spirits in one day.

However, a judge agreed to the anonymity order pending an appeal against the ruling. She also owns a golf club and has access to a private jet. The U.K. National Crime Agency, which brought the action against Mrs. Hajiyeva, estimates hundreds of billions of pounds of global crime proceeds are laundered through the country and its banks each year. Transparency International says it has identified £4.4 billion ($5.8 billion) in United Kingdom property bought with suspicious wealth, while other anticorruption campaigners have sought to highlight the problem by taking journalists on "kleptocracy tours" around London's swankiest streets.

Lawyers for Mrs Hajiyeva said in a statement: '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 wrong-doing, whether on her part or that of her husband.

The Azeri finance ministry said about $3 billion could have been misappropriated by Hajiyev, who denied the charges.

The unexplained wealth order is a new power given to law enforcement agencies this year to tackle suspected corruption. The director of the UK's National Crime Agency says Unexplained Wealth Orders should be used more broadly to target some $6 billion in suspicious wealth.

They said the order "is part of an investigative process, not a criminal procedure, and it does not involve the finding of any criminal offence".

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