The Court of Appeal's robust rejection of Mrs Hajiyeva's appeal against the implementation of the Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) issued against her was hailed by the director of the NCA's National Economic Crime Centre, Sarah Pritchard, as a "significant result", and a "helpful precedent" for the future use of UWOs. The NCA will rightly view the Court of Appeal's decision as an endorsement of their efforts to crack down on money laundering, and UWOs are likely to become an increasingly familiar feature of the investigations landscape. Although they are an investigative rather than a punitive measure, UWOs are deliberately draconian. They impose significant obligations on individuals at a much earlier stage of investigations than was previously the case. As in this case, they may be accompanied by interim freezing orders to preserve the property in question whilst investigators consider whether to accept explanations provided as to the provenance of property, or alternatively whether to take further steps to restrain or seize assets. If no explanation is given before the end of the response period, the property is presumed to be recoverable.
The Court of Appeal has rejected Zamira Hajiyeva's attempt to stop the UK's first ever Unexplained Wealth Order from being implemented against her.