A woman from Azerbaijan whose fortune has been targeted by British authorities under anti-corruption laws was freed on bail Thursday while she battles extradition to her homeland over embezzlement allegations.
Zamira Hajiyeva is the first person to be subject to an Unexplained Wealth Order, a measure introduced this year in a bid to curb London’s status as a haven for ill-gotten gains. The orders allow authorities to seize assets from people suspected of corruption or links to organized crime until the owners account for how they were acquired.
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Hajiyeva’s husband, former International Bank of Azerbaijan Chairman Jahangir Hajiyev, was sentenced to 15 years in jail in his home country in 2016 for fraud and embezzlement.
British authorities want to know where Hajiyeva got the funds to spend 16 million pounds ($21 million) on jewelry, wine and other goods at luxury London department store Harrods and to buy properties worth 22 million pounds ($29 million).
Hajiyeva, 55, was arrested last week by British police at Azeri request over alleged embezzlement.
A High Court judge ruled Thursday that there were no “substantial grounds” to refuse her bail.