The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Zamira Hajiyeva – the wife of jailed Azerbaijani banker Jahangir Hajiyev – to discharge the Unexplained Wealth Order made against her by the National Crime Agency (NCA). On Wednesday 5 February, the Court of Appeal upheld the earlier decision of the Hon Mr Justice Supperstone in the High Court refusing to discharge the Unexplained Wealth Order secured in 2018.
Sarah Pritchard, director of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “This is a significant result which is important in establishing Unexplained Wealth Orders as a powerful tool helping us to investigate illicit finance generated in, or flowing through, the UK. As a new piece of legislation we anticipated that there would be legal challenge. We’re pleased that the court has upheld the case It will set a helpful precedent for future Unexplained Wealth Order cases.”
Andy Lewis, head of asset denial at the NCA, said: “Unexplained Wealth Orders, and other asset denial tools such as Account Freezing Orders, are hugely powerful tools that are enabling us to investigate illicit finance and discourage it from happening in the first place. We will continue to seek opportunities to use these orders to tackle illicit finance and fight serious and organised crime. We’re ultimately looking for Mrs Hajiyeva to comply with the original order of February 2018 to explain the source of the funds used to purchase her property, pending any further right of appeal that may be granted.”
The NCA secured Unexplained Wealth Order in 2018 in respect of two properties with a combined value in excess of £22 million, which are believed to belong to Zamira Hajiyeva and Jahangir Hajiyev.
The appeal dismissed is for an Unexplained Wealth Order that requires Mrs Hajiyeva to explain how she and her husband could afford to buy their large house in Knightsbridge.
The second Unexplained Wealth Order relates to the purchase of a golf club in Berkshire.