Mystery woman who spent £16m in Harrods revealed as wife of jailed Azerbaijan banker

Callum Keown
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London's Department Stores And Their Christmas Windows
Zamira Hajiyeva spent more than £16m in Harrods over a decade (Source: Getty)

The mystery woman who spent £16m in Harrods and was hit with the UK's first ever 'unexplained wealth order' has been identified as the wife of a jailed Azerbaijan banker.

Zamira Hajiyeva lost an appeal last week against a High Court ruling forcing her to reveal how she was able to afford two properties in Britain worth a combined £22m.

Her husband Jahangir Hajiyev, the former chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, was convicted of fraud and embezzlement in 2016 and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

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The National Crime Agency issued the first ever unexplained wealth order (UWO) on two of the couple's properties earlier this year – an £11.5m house in Knightsbridge, not far from her favourite shopping haunt, and the Mill Ride Golf Club in Ascot, purchased for £10.5m.

Mrs Hajiyeva's lavish lifestyle was revealed during the legal proceedings, which came to an end last week.

The court heard she spent more than £16m at the department store Harrods over the course of a decade – using 35 credit cards issued by her husband's state-owned bank.

She also travelled the world in a Gulfstream private jet, drinking the finest wines and wearing expensive jewellery.

Lawyers for Hajiyeva said the High Court decision does not and should not be taken to imply any wrongdoing and that UWOs were an "investigative" process and not criminal.

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The NCA's director for economic crime, Donald Toon, said that following the ruling the agency would bring forward more UWOs to the High Court.

He said: “Unexplained wealth orders have the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the UK as a destination for illicit income.

“They enable the UK to more effectively target the problem of money laundering through prime real estate in London and across the UK, and we will now seek to move further cases to the High Court.”