THE WIFE of a "fat cat international banker" has lost her challenge over the UK's first unexplained wealth order (UWO) at the Court of Appeal.

Zamira Hajiyeva, who owns Mill Ride Golf Club in Ascot, attempted to overturn a UWO obtained by the National Crime Agency (NCA) against a property in Knightsbridge, London, which was purchased for £11.5 million in 2009.

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Her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, was the chairman of the state-controlled International Bank of Azerbaijan from 2001 until his resignation in 2015, and was later sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for fraud and embezzlement.

The 56-year-old argued that her husband's conviction was the result of a "grossly unfair trial" and should be discharged.

Lord Chief Justice Burnett dismissed Mrs Hajiyeva's appeal in London on Wednesday, February 5.

In a statement after the ruling, Sarah Pritchard, director of the NCA's National Economic Crime Centre, said: "This is a significant result which is important in establishing unexplained wealth orders as a powerful tool helping us to investigate illicit finance generated in, or flowing through, the UK.

"As a new piece of legislation we anticipated that there would be legal challenge - we are pleased that the court has upheld the case today. It will set a helpful precedent for future UWO cases."

Mrs Hajiyeva was the first person to be made subject to a UWO, a new power brought into force in January 2018 under so-called McMafia laws, which allows the NCA to seize someone's assets if they believe the owner is a politically exposed person — and they are unable to explain their source of wealth.

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The Court of Appeal ruled that, if the bank was a state-owned enterprise, "Mr Hajiyev fell within the definition of a politically exposed person because he was its chairman", and that Mrs Hajiyeva "was also a politically exposed person because she was a family member of Mr Hajiyev".

The jailed bankers wife was hit with the UK's first UWO after she managed to spend £16 million in a decade-long spending spree, without raising suspicions.

The serial shopper was said to be at the centre of a money laundering case after splashing out on luxury jewels and designer fashion at Harrods.

She blew £600,000 in a single day at the London department store where she spent £30,000 on chocolate in one afternoon and spent a further £5.75m at Boucheron jewellers and Cartier.