Financial News

  • 10 March 2014, 9:32

Birmingham City Owner Carson Yeung Jailed

The owner of Birmingham City football club, Carson Yeung, has been sentenced to six years in jail for money laundering.

Judge Douglas Yau handed down the sentence in a Hong Kong court after convicting the 54-year-old of five charges linked to the laundering of $93m (£55.6m).

Lawyers for the former hairdresser earlier said they were expecting a "significant" jail sentence.

He had faced up to seven years' imprisonment.

Lead defence lawyer Graham Harris told the judge that Yeung, who built a business empire from hair salons, fertiliser and property, "came from rags to riches, and he's likely to return to rags".†††††††††††††

Pleading for a light sentence, Mr Harris said there had been "no subterfuge" in Yeung's dealings, as the accounts in question were held in his own name and his father's.

Yeung was a generous philanthropist and head of a young family, with two children aged under three as well as a 19-year-old son, the lawyer said.

Before his emergence in English football, the businessman was little known in Britain.

He took control of Birmingham City in 2009 in an £81m takeover from David Sullivan and David Gold, now the co-owners of West Ham.

Throughout the trial, Yeung and the prosecution painted differing pictures of how the tycoon amassed his fortune.

The prosecution said the millions of pounds that passed through the five accounts came from "unknown parties without any apparent reason".

Yeung insisted he had accumulated his money through share trading, upmarket hair salons and business ventures in mainland China, as well as investing in casinos in Macau.

He also said he made up to £2.3m from gambling in Macau, adding that he gambled as if he were "running a business".

It emerged during the trial that his business dealings included transactions with businessman†Cheung Chi-tai, who has links to the Macau casino industry.

Sentencing Yeung on Monday, Yau said any "right-thinking" person would conclude transactions between the pair were "proceeds of an indictable offence".

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