Greater than £400,000 price of jewelry has been seized from the spouse of a fraudulent banker as a part of the UK’s first McMafia-style “soiled cash” investigation.
A choose ordered the detention of 49 objects of high-end jewelry linked to Zamira Hajiyeva, the spouse of an Azerbaijani banker jailed for defrauding his state-owned financial institution out of a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of euros. Hajiyeva, who was identified solely as Mrs A till an anonymity order was lifted final month, is topic to the UK’s first unexplained wealth order (UWO) below which she dangers shedding two properties price £22m.
The Nationwide Crime Company seized the objects from Christie’s public sale home in central London, the place they’d been dropped at be valued by Hajiyeva’s daughter Leyla Mahmudova. The NCA stated the supply of funds used to buy the jewelry, together with a £120,000 Boucheron sapphire and ruby necklace, “requires additional investigation”. The district choose granted the detention of the objects for six months to permit additional investigation and “decide whether or not it’s recoverable”.
A few of the objects have been bought by Hajiyeva’s husband Jahangir Hajiyev within the luxurious Swiss ski resort of San Moritz in 2008. Hajiyev, 57, is the previous chair of the state-owned Worldwide Financial institution of Azerbaijan. In 2016, he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for defrauding the financial institution.
The NCA alleges that stolen funds have been used to purchase an £11.5m, five-bedroom property in Knightsbridge, 100 yards from the doorways of Harrods.
The courtroom of attraction heard final month that Zamira Hajiyeva spent £16.3m on three Harrods buyer loyalty reward playing cards over a decade. On one journey to the division retailer, she spent £150,000 on merchandise from the posh jeweller Boucheron. The NCA stated she used 35 bank cards issued by her husband’s financial institution to fund the Harrods spending spree.
The courtroom additionally heard that Hajiyeva had entry to a $42m (£32m) Gulfstream G550 jet and had a wine cellar stocked with a number of the world’s costliest bottles.
The NCA claims suspect money funded the £10.5m buy of Mill Journey golf and nation membership in Ascot through an organization primarily based in Guernsey. In a excessive courtroom ruling final month, Mr Justice Supperstone ordered that Hajiyeva should adjust to the UWO and clarify how she amassed the cash used to fund the property purchases. If she is unable to show the legit supply of the funds, the properties could possibly be seized.
The company claims Hajiyeva is needed by Azerbaijani authorities in reference to avoiding the investigation into fraud at her husband’s former financial institution. She is considered one of a number of members of the family whom the authorities declare Jahangir used to take cash in another country.
The household deny the allegations. In October, Hajiyeva’s lawyer stated: “The choice of the excessive courtroom upholding the grant of an [UWO] in opposition to Zamira Hajiyeva doesn’t and shouldn’t be taken to suggest any wrongdoing, whether or not on her half or that of her husband. The NCA’s case is that the UWO is a part of an investigative course of, not a legal process, and it doesn’t contain the discovering of any legal offence.”