Jailed banker's wife investigated after spending $32m at Harrods

When the wife of a banker from Azerbaijan was found to have spent £16 million ($32.6 million) at Harrods in London between 2006 and 2016, it set alarm bells ringing at the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA).

Despite a court battle to keep her identity hidden, Zamira Hajiyeva has been revealed to be the woman behind the extravagant lifestyle thought to have been earned illegally.

She is now the subject of the first ever Unexplained Wealth Order, which is designed to stop international criminals laundering their money.

Ms Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, 57, is the jailed former chairman of the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan. In 2016, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for defrauding the bank of £2.2 billion ($4.48 billion).

The NCA claims stolen funds were used to buy an £11.5 million property in Knightsbridge, less than 100m from the Harrods store in question.

Authorities also believe the stolen money is behind the £10.5 million purchase of the Mill Ride golf and country club in Ascot, which was bought by a firm in the British Virgin Islands allegedly controlled by Ms Hajiyeva.

According to NCA's story, Ms Hajiyeva was one of several family members her husband used to smuggle the fraudulent money out of Azerbaijan. His family deny the allegations.

Ms Hajiyeva's lawyers argued that she shouldn't have to prove her wealth was legitimate, because she is not a "politically exposed person".

She has now been ordered to comply with the Unexplained Wealth Order to explain herself.

If she can't prove the money was earned legally, her assets will be seized.

Newshub.