A WOMAN who spent more than £16million at Harrods over a decade has lost her fight to keep where her money comes from secret.
Zamira Hajiyeva, 56, whose banker husband Jahangir is serving 15 years for fraud and embezzlement, failed in her Court of Appeal challenge to the UK’s first unexplained wealth order (UWO).
The Azerbaijani now has seven days to explain her finances — including how she was able to buy her £15million home in Knightsbridge and the Mill Ride Golf Course in Berkshire — to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
If she fails to comply, or her evidence does not satisfy investigators, they can then return to court to ask another judge to make a separate order to seize her assets.
Ms Hajiyeva’s husband was chairman of the state- controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until 2015. He was jailed a year later in their homeland.
Ms Hajiyeva argued that her husband’s conviction, which she says was the ‘central feature’ of the NCA’s application for the UWO, was the result of a ‘grossly unfair trial’ and should be ignored.
But yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Lord Justice Simon, dismissed her appeal and refused to give her permission to contest their ruling.
Ms Hajiyeva became the first person to be made subject to a UWO after they were brought into force two years ago under so-called McMafia laws — named after the BBC organised crime drama and the book which inspired it.
A UWO allows the NCA to seize someone’s assets if they are deemed a ‘politically exposed person’ — in a position of power that could allow them to profit from bribery or corruption.
In 2011, Jahangir Hajiyev was said to be worth £55million — far more than his bank salary.
NCA spokeswoman Sarah Pritchard said yesterday’s decision was a ‘significant result’ that would ‘set a legal precedent’ for future wealth orders.