Woman who spent $21 mln at Harrods faces extradition hearing

London detains wife of jailed Azerbaijani banker

London detains wife of jailed Azerbaijani banker Zamira Hajiyeva

She faces two charges of embezzlement.

Her husband was the chairman of the state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until his resignation in 2015, and was subsequently jailed for fraud and embezzlement.

Last week more than £400,000 worth of jewellery was seized from her by the NCA before it was due to be auctioned at Christie's auction house. It requires those "reasonably suspected of involvement" or "being connected to a person involved" in a serious crime to explain how their property was obtained, if their lawful income appears to be insufficient to afford it.

It is reported that Hajiyev was taken into custody by the officers of the Metropolitan police Service after receipt of an extradition request from the Azerbaijani authorities.

The court case also revealed that she had been arrested by appointment after a warrant was activated last week.

In court this week, her legal team said she was a "spendthrift", but was not a "fraudster".

The court has announced that Hajieva may be released on bail of 500 million pounds.

Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, is the wife of an ex-state banker who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for embezzlement in their home country of Azerbaijan.

Ms Hajiyeva also bought an $20.7 million five-bedroom home which, according to UK's The Guardian, was roughly 90 metres from the Harrods doors. The orders allow authorities to seize assets from people suspected of corruption or links to organised crime until the owners account for how they were acquired.

United Kingdom law enforcement used a new tactic to target two of the couple's properties owned through a web of offshore companies - a grand double-fronted home in the heart of upmarket Knightsbridge bought for £11.5m in 2009, and a golf club in the wealth suburban town of Ascot, Berkshire.

Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK, said in a statement last month, "The UK has been long identified as a safe haven for corrupt money and despite successive governments recognizing this, money launderers have continued to hide their ill-gotten gains here".

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