Is the Refusal of Zamira Hajiyeva’s Appeal Really Good News for the NCA? – Lawyer Monthly

Is the Refusal of Zamira Hajiyeva’s Appeal Really Good News for the NCA? – Lawyer Monthly

BCL partners John Binns and Michael Drury’s article has been featured in Lawyer Monthly online publication, discussing the unexplained wealth order appeal and subsequent refusal for Zamira Hajiyeva.

Here’s an extract from the article:

“Enthusiasts for the UK’s still relatively new system of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) are cheering the recent victory of the National Crime Agency (NCA) against Mrs Zamira Hajiyeva in the Court of Appeal. Certainly, the decision has implications for the use of UWOs, which until now have remained relatively rare: by all accounts, the NCA and other law enforcement authorities have been stacking up potential UWO applications while awaiting Mrs Hajiyeva’s appeal, which was granted permission precisely because it was felt useful to have a steer from the Court of Appeal on some of the knottier questions posed by the legislation.

There are, however, at least two reasons why the rest of us should be a little more circumspect about cheering this particular result. The first is that, in the scheme of potential targets of the UWO scheme, Mrs Hajiyeva, who famously managed to spend £16m at Harrods and buy an expensive mansion nearby despite her husband’s job as head of the Azeri state bank, is one of the more obvious, and the Court of Appeal was not, therefore, engaging with particularly difficult questions.”

This article was originally published by Lawyer Monthly in their March edition, which you can find here.

John Binns is a partner at BCL specialising in all aspects of business crime, with a particular interest in confiscation, civil recovery and money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). His business crime experience includes representing suspects, defendants and witnesses in cases invoking allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud (including carbon credits, carousel/MTIC, land-banking, Ponzi and pyramid scheme frauds), insider trading, market abuse, price-fixing, sanctions-busting, and tax evasion. He has coordinated and undertaken corporate investigations and defended in cases brought by BEIS, the FCA, HMRC, NCA, OFT, SFO and others.

Michael Drury is a partner at BCL with a diverse practice, ranging from extradition to representing individuals in regulatory proceedings brought by the FCA; acting in criminal investigations by the SFO; and is a leading expert on surveillance and investigatory powers as well as information law and cybercrime.