Zamira Hajiyeva’s UWO and extradition cases analysed by BCL’s Michael Drury and John Binns

Zamira Hajiyeva’s UWO and extradition cases analysed by BCL’s Michael Drury and John Binns

BCL’s Michael Drury and John Binns discuss with Euronews the cases brought against Zamira Hajiyeva, whose cases were widely reported on for details such as a £16 million spending spree at Harrods and the ownership of a house worth £11 million in Knightsbridge.

Here’s an extract from the article:

“How does the English judicial system permit, on the one hand, an English so-called ‘McMafia’ order – an Unexplained Wealth Order (‘UWO’) introduced under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 – to be made against Azerbaijani national, Zamira Hajiyeva, forcing her to reveal her wealth and how it was obtained, yet, on the other hand, deny Azerbaijan’s request for her extradition. The Chief Magistrate presiding over her case found that: “The combination of a judiciary which is not independent of the executive, lawyers who are punished if they take on cases of interest to the state, the approach of the court and the authorities to Mrs Hajiyeva’s husband’s trial, all lead me to conclude that there is a real risk that Mrs Hajiyeva, whose case is high-profile and sensitive and not a ‘normal’ criminal case, will suffer a flagrant denial of justice”. She ruled that the extradition was incompatible with Article 6 fair trial rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Is this purely English juridical elitism? Or is there something else at play? Both cases are being appealed by Mrs Hajiyeva in respect of the UWO – expected to be heard before the end of 2019 – and by the Government of Azerbaijan against the refusal to order extradition. The final word from the English Courts is yet to be uttered.”

This article was originally published by Euronews on 04/10/2019. You can read the full article on their site.


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 representing individuals in arenas as wide ranging as the Metropolitan Police investigation into the alleged involvement of British officials in the transfer of individuals to Libya under the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to fraud investigations by a variety of police forces in England and Wales.

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.

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