A BANKER’S wife who spent nearly £16million at Harrods will not be extradited, a court ruled.
Zamira Hajiyeva, 55 won her court battle against the Azerbaijani government who wanted her to face fraud and embezzlement charges.
But yesterday a judge at Westminster Magistrates Court ruled that she should not be sent back to her home nation.
Her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, 57, was the chairman of the state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until his resignation in 2015, before he was subsequently sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraud and embezzlement.
In June the court was told that Mrs Hajiyeva had spent up to £15.5 million of embezzled cash in luxury boutiques, hotels, restaurants and grand department stores across Europe.
She is also said to have bought jewellery, gold and flight tickets for herself and family members, paid school fees for her three children and splashed out on health and beauty treatments.
‘DECADE-LONG £16 MILLION SPENDING SPREE IN HARRODS’
It was also revealed earlier this year that Mrs Hajiyeva spent £16 million during a decade-long spending spree at Harrods – buying jewellery, designer fashion and perfume at the luxury department store.
Her barrister Hugo Keith QC told Westminster magistrates: “Spending that sort of money in Harrods might be offensive but it’s not a criminal offence.”
Lawyers representing the Azerbaijani government indicated they would appeal against the judge’s decision.
Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot said: “I have discharged you under Article 6 on the basis you won’t get a fair trial if you return to Azerbaijan.
“There’s almost bound to be an appeal in this case, we will know for sure in 14 days.
“You remain on the same bail as before.”
Last year Hagiyeva became the first subject of an Unexplained Wealth Order in the UK.
The order – separate to these proceedings – forces an individual to prove that their millions were not obtained illegally.
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It was dubbed the “McMafia” law after the hit BBC One series starring James Norton.
A statement issued by Mrs Hajiyeva’s lawyers said: “We welcome the decision of the senior district judge today which confirms that our client, Mrs Hajiyeva, will not be extradited to Azerbaijan.
“There is much more that we would like to say but given ongoing proceedings in respect of other matters and the possibility that the Azeri government may appeal, we will not be making any further comment at this stage.
Jahangir Hajiyev, ex-chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, has been jailed for 15 years for fraud and embezzlement[/caption]
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