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First UWO respondent revealed as wife of Azerbaijani banker

First UWO respondent revealed as wife of Azerbaijani banker
UWOs must also target ruling elites who enjoy impunity

10th October 2018, London – The identity of the first Unexplained Wealth Order respondent has today been revealed as Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of Jahangir Hajiyev, who was formerly Chair of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) and is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence in Azerbaijan for his part in embezzling US$138 million

Last week the NCA successfully defended the Unexplained Wealth Order in the UK High Court. Transparency International said that ruling should “give confidence to the National Crime Agency to widen its pursuit of billions of pounds of suspicious wealth used to buy luxury property across the UK.” 

With the details of this case now revealed Transparency International is calling for Unexplained Wealth Orders to now be used against ruling elites – such as the First family of Azerbaijan – who operate with impunity in their own countries.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

“We are delighted that this first case is progressing in court, underlining the effectiveness of Unexplained Wealth Orders in targeting suspicious wealth. UWOs should now be used more widely to pursue more of the £4.4 billion worth of suspicious wealth we have identified across the UK.”

“Transparency International also expects to see action taken against powerful elites who enjoy impunity in their own countries. This includes the ruling family of Azerbaijan, whom we have already highlighted as possible UWO candidates, and appear to own many millions of pounds in London property through secretive shell companies.”

“This case raises serious questions about the conduct of those who provided services for the Hajiyev’s luxury lifestyle. Critically, did any of the professionals involved file a suspicious activity report with the police? Alarm bells should be ringing when public servants on state salaries start amassing high-end real estate, luxury goods, even a private jet and a million pound Tier 1 investment visa. The private sector is our first line of defence against money laundering, yet many of these professionals seem only too keen to roll out the red carpet to those with suspicious wealth.”

Contact:

Dominic Kavakeb
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
020 3096 7695
075 4596 5302

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Read 394 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 October 2018 12:25

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