Tue, 13 Nov 2018
3
Ashgabat

Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of the jailed former boss of Azerbaijan's biggest bank, has been detained in London and faces extradition, the BBC reports.

It said Hajiyeva, 55, was detained by Metropolitan Police last week after an extradition request from authorities in Azerbaijan, where she faces two charges of embezzlement.

A judge at London's Westminster Magistrates Court ruled that Hajiyeva could be released on bail under certain conditions, according to the BBC.

However, prosecutors appealed the decision, meaning she will remain in custody pending an appeal on November 8.

Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was chairman of the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 to 2015. In 2016, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of fraud and embezzlement, charges he denied, and was ordered to repay $29 million.

His wife fled the country and was given permission to live in Britain under a visa scheme for wealthy investors.

There, Hajiyeva's lavish lifestyle made her the first target of new legislation designed to target suspected corrupt foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through Britain.

She is under investigation by Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA), which in February secured the country's first-ever unexplained wealth order (UWO) to target Hajiyeva's wealth.

Under the order, the NCA can apply to court to seize property when a suspected corrupt foreign official, or their family, cannot identify a legitimate source of the funds used for buying it.

It has been revealed that Hajiyeva, who lives in a $20 million house in London, used as many as 35 credit cards issued by her husband's bank to spend more than $21 million at the luxury store Harrods over a decade.

Her legal team argued that she was a 'spendthrift' -- not 'a fraudster.'

With reporting by the BBC

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

More Central Asia News

Access More

Sign up for Turkmenistan News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!