The grandson of a former Kazakhstan President must explain where he got the money from to buy a £80 million property in north London, a court heard today.
The palatial spread in Bishops Avenue, Hapstead, otherwise known as Billionaire’s Row, is neighboured by houses owned by the Sultan of Brunei and Richard Desmond.
Nurali Aliyev, 35, his wife Aida and children live in the property, which has an underground swimming pool and cinema.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has frozen the property’s assets, meaning it cannot be sold or disposed of, due to only the second ever use in Britain of an Unexplained Wealth Order.
UWOs are a new tool that can be used to fight against suspected criminal money invested in property.
The NCA suspects the property was bought with proceeds of crime, as well as another Hampstead home worth £5.7 million as well as two flats in Chelsea, where one man once paid £27 million for a property without fittings in 2004.
Two companies that are based offshore in tax havens and own the properties have applied to have the orders squashed.
Clare Montgomery, acting on the companies’ behalf, said the NCA’s grounds for the order was “tissue thin”.
She said: “This is a classic example of an entirely tissue thin case as to reasonable grounds to suspect facilitated crime coupled with the failure to give full and frank disclosure.
“That is a central point that one would have thought the NCA should grapple with before they made this application.”
Ms Montgomery said the NCA only looked at Nurali and his father Rakhat for evidence of spending criminal money on property.
The former president’s son-in-law was found hanged in jail in 2015 after being charged with the murder of two bankers in 2007.
The barrister said the funding for the properties came from Nurali’s mother, Dariga Nazarbayeva, who she said was economically independent.
Ms Montgomery said: “The NCA completely ignores that there is a woman who is economically active who might have conceivably earned money using her own wits rather than sitting back and taking the money made by her husband or her son.
“The NCA’s case is an extraordinarily patriarchal one. It’s saying: ‘if a man has money, it must come from his father.’.
“If you look at the sources of lawful income it is plain no one gives any thought whatsoever to Ms Nazarbayeva.
“This, in my submission, is either a failure of inquiry or failure of disclosure.”
In a statement issued by her lawyers, the mother has denied any wrongdoing.
Ms Nazarbayeva’s spokesperson said: “She has furnished the NCA with all the information it needed to conclude she has not been involved in any wrongdoing and there was no merit to their case.
“Dr Nazarbayeva wishes to make it clear she has not been party to any wrongdoing and looks forward to the matter being concluded swiftly.”
The NCA will oppose to have the unexplained wealth orders dropped in the hearing today.