Birmingham City Football Club owner Carson Yeung guilty

Carson Yeung Carson Yeung remains Birmingham City's majority shareholder

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Birmingham City Football Club owner Carson Yeung has been found guilty of five counts of money laundering by a court in Hong Kong.

The 54-year-old had denied laundering HK$720 million (£55.4m) through his bank accounts between 2001 and 2007.

Judge Douglas Yau said Yeung was "self-contradictory" in his testimony and he was "making it up as he went along".

He will be sentenced on Friday and could face 14 years in jail.

Turbulent times at St Andrew's

  • October 2009 - Following an initial failed attempt in 2007, Carson Yeung completes his £81.5m takeover
  • May 2010 - Alex McLeish leads Birmingham to ninth in the Premier League
  • Feb 2011 - Birmingham beat Arsenal 2-1 to win the League Cup
  • May 2011 - Blues relegated. McLeish leaves for Aston Villa
  • June 2011 - Yeung first appears in court on money-laundering charges
  • May 2012 - Blues miss out in Championship play-offs on same day that acting chairman Peter Pannu announces they are looking to attract new investment
  • October 2012 - Pannu reveals two prospective buyers, including a consortium led by Midlands-based former QPR chairman Gianni Paladin
  • May 2013 - After an initial postponement, Yeung's trial opens in Hong Kong
  • Feb 2014 - Yeung resigns from all roles on the boards related to the club days before verdict in his trial is due
  • March 2014 - Yeung found guilty of five money-laundering charges

Yeung was arrested and charged in June 2011, two years after he acquired the club.

Throughout the trial, Yeung and the prosecution painted differing pictures of how his wealth had been amassed.

Yeung maintained he accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars through stock trading, business ventures in mainland China, a hair salon and a keen interest in gambling.

'Famous hairstylist'

But prosecutors said he was unable to show where almost HK$100 million (£7.7m) in his bank accounts had come from.

Judge Yau said Yeung had lied about how he made his money and exaggerated the profits generated by his hair salon business.

"I find the defendant not a witness of truth. I find that he is someone who is prepared to, and did try to, lie whenever he saw the need to do so," he told the courtroom.

He added there were reasonable grounds to believe that Yeung's various business deals had used money which represented "proceeds of an indictable offence".

Carson Yeung will be sentenced on Friday

Yeung bought Birmingham City in October 2009 for £81.5m from David Sullivan and David Gold, now the co-owners of West Ham.

Analysis

Business as usual is the message coming out of St Andrew's.

Recently, Carson Yeung resigned from all of his positions connected to Birmingham City.

He's the largest shareholder with 16.98% of Birmingham International Holdings who own 96.6% of the football club.

But two directors have recently been appointed to the holdings' board, both associates of Yeung.

I understand the holding company is looking to sell 12% of its shares to a Chinese holding company looking to raise extra capital rather than sell the club, which understandably is open to fresh investment.

But as for Birmingham City's value, it can't be much more than £30m now as it struggles in the second tier.

Carson Yeung bought the club in 2009 for £81.5m when in they were in the Premier League.

He is the majority shareholder but resigned in February as president of Birmingham City FC, director of Birmingham City plc and director and chairman of the club's parent company, Birmingham International Holdings Ltd (BIHL).

Since he took charge, Blues have won the League Cup but have been relegated from the Barclays Premier League and are currently 17th in the Championship after losing 1-0 to Ipswich on Saturday.

In a statement, the club's acting chairman Peter Pannu said: "I'd like to reassure all supporters and staff that today's verdict will have no impact on the day-to-day operations at the football club.

"Birmingham International Holdings Limited, the holding company, shall continue to support the football club under the leadership of the group's new chairman, Mr Cheung Shing, and will work to raise further investment to support Birmingham City FC. going forward."

'Tarnished administration'

Yeung worked in the UK as a teenager before becoming a "famous" hairstylist in Hong Kong. He made his fortune investing in Macau in the 1990s and is a prominent property developer in Hong Kong.

St Andrew's Yeung bought Birmingham City in October 2009 for £81.5m from David Sullivan and David Gold

Kevin Ball, owner of the Birmingham FC fan website Joys and Sorrows, said: "From a personal position, I don't think he had a prudent approach to run the club, but in the first part of his tenure he gave me some of my best days as a Blues fan.

"I believe he wanted the best for the club, but I think he was naive in running the club and should have stepped away before now.

"Where we are now, the existing administration is tarnished. I hope we get sold."

A spokesman for fans' organisation the Blues Trust, said: "We hope that today's verdict marks the beginning of a new era, where we are able to put this troubling period behind us as soon as possible."

A Football League spokesman said: "Since the commencement of these criminal proceedings, the club's holding company has introduced revised arrangements to ensure that it could relist on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and comply with Football League regulations. They include the resignation of Mr Yeung from all directorships.

"The League has been working with the club... and, based on the information provided, is satisfied that Birmingham City complies with its requirements regarding ownership, as well as having funding arrangements in place until the end of the 2013-14 season, at least."

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    Glenis Simms and Cheryl Billingham

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  14.  
    Ebola party apology 16:21: Bethan Bell Journalist, BBC News

    A statement from Bar Risa in Birmingham said the night was run by a third party and Bar Risa management apologises for letting it happen.

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  15.  
    'It really looks like them' 16:11:

    What do you think to the "Real Birmingham Family" statues in Centenary Square? Lighting designer Kate Morley said she thought sculptor Gillian Weaver was "very talented."

    Kate Morley

    "You can tell instantly the statue is based on the two sisters. "It really does look like them."

    However, Ms Morley was slightly concerned about the sculpture's proximity to the Broad Street entertainment district. "Someone's going to walk into it in the dark," she said.

     
  16.  
    NHS strike called 16:00:

    NHS workers, including nurses and midwives, are to stage a new four-hour strike in England on 24 November as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

     
  17.  
    News on the hour 15:58: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    The Queen's been in the West Midlands Today. She officially opened the new Jaguar Land Rover Engine plant on the I54 business park near Wolverhampton.

    In the news at 16:00 we'll hear from professor David Bailey, a car industry expert from Aston University Business School. Listen live.

     
  18.  
    Yardleys School to reopen 15:53:

    Yardleys School in Birmingham, closed since a fire at a nearby warehouse, will open again on 4 November, the governors and trustees say.

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  19.  
    Waste of money? 15:40: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    A Real Birmingham Family statue has really divided opinion on the BBC WM Facebook page. Some say it's a waste of money and some think it's great to see real people in art.

    Claire TheHelper Gunnell posts: Two sisters taking their children for a trip out (to the park or shopping) is only one aspect of family. Depicting a Birmingham Family - How so? I don't get it. It would make a nice picture in a frame though to show unity as they are all holding hands...

    Mac McCreery adds: I went and it was great.

     
  20.  
    Ebola themed party apology 15:30: Birmingham Mail

    Birmingham Broad Street's Bar Risa comes under fire for hosting Ebola themed party, the paper reports

     
  21.  
    Clark 'loves a challenge' 15:25: Dan Pallett Sports presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    Lee Clark is the new boss at Blackpool just 10 days after being sacked at Birmingham City.

    Boy that man likes a challenge

     
  22.  
    Who paid for the statue? 15:10: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    How has the Birmingham Family bronze statue been paid for?

    Birmingham Family statue in Centenary Square

    A spokeswoman at Ikon tells me says it's been funded through private donors, the Arts Council, the Library of Birmingham and Friends of Ikon group.

    Birmingham Library's contributed £50,000 and came from the library's Capital Funding Project, a library spokesperson said.

    I'm hoping to be given a full cost breakdown shortly.

     
  23.  
    Union blast pay offer 15:04: Birmingham Mail

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  24.  
    News on the hour 14:55:

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    • A statue of a real Birmingham family has been unveiled in one of the city's main squares
     
  25.  
    Rogue traders in Sandwell 14:48: via Facebook

    Sandwell Trading Standards posts: Beware if you live in Cradley folks! We've had a report of rogue traders in the area. They claimed to be from a well known local company and gave out fake cards! They offered to cut down trees, charged £1200 cash, but left all that they'd cut down at the property and all over the road and pavement.

     
  26.  
    Where's the dad? 14:33:

    Speaking about the Real Birmingham Family statue unveiled at the Library of Birmingham earlier, Angela Passey and her husband Nigel said they were "shocked" by the absence of a dad.

    Nigel and Angela Passey

    She says: "To me, that doesn't portray a family as it should be. If that indicates a family today then it's sad."

    Nigel added: "It only shows one part of a family. "The man had to have been involved at one point."

     
  27.  
    'Not my children' 14:24:

    "I don't think of [babies conceived from my sperm] as my children as I think the parent is the person who brings them up," said Jimmy, a student from Coventry.

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  28.  
    Royal visit 14:10:

    The Queen was welcomed by staff at Jaguar Land Rover as she visits Wolverhampton.

    Queen welcomed to Wolverhampton
     
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    News at 2pm 13:59: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

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  30.  
    Love it or hate it? 13:55: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

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    Steve Wilcox posts:: No fathers in "real Birmingham families", then ??

     
  31.  
    In pictures: Queen's visit 13:44: Express and Star

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  32.  
    Listen: 'Change perceptions' 13:34:

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  34.  
    'Very talented' 13:21:

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  35.  
    Wolves v Birmingham 13:12: BBC Sport

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  36.  
    News on the hour 12:59: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

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  37.  
    BBC One at 13:30 12:50: Peter Plisner Business correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

    This is the Queen talking to staff at the Jaguar Land Rover Centre in Wolverhampton which she has officially opened.

    The Queen in Wolverhampton

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  39.  
    Statue reaction 12:28:

    Simona Marchetta, 34, from Italy said she thought the statue should have been made from a lighter-coloured material.

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    Artist Gillian Wearing with sisters Roma and Emma Jones

    Rebecca Sutton, 19, said she felt it was wrong to single out just one family.

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  41.  
    Depicted in bronze 11:59:

    The Jones sisters, stand with artist Gillian Wearing who depicted 'A Real Birmingham Family' in bronze.

    A Real Birmingham Family unveiled
     
  42.  
    Aqua blue 11:53: Jonny Palmer BBC WM Sport

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  43.  
    Statue unveiled 11:49: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

    The statue has just been unveiled to gasps of approval and a round of applause.

    A Real Birmingham Family
     
  44.  
    Queen arrives in Wolverhampton 11:45: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

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  45.  
    'Inspirational' project 11:44: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

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    The Jones sisters at the Library of Birmingham
     
  46.  
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  47.  
    Morning meeting 11:32: Abigail Uden Producer, BBC Midlands Today

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  48.  
    Blackpool sign Clark 11:25:

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  49.  
    Ready for the Queen 11:23: Jonny Palmer BBC WM

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    Jaguar Land Rover Centre near Wolverhampton
     
  50.  
    Family chosen from hundreds 11:20: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

    I'm heading to the Library of Birmingham to see the unveiling of a statue by Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing.

    Roma and Emma Jones and their sons Kyan and Shaye

    The sculpture, called Birmingham Family, depicts sisters Roma and Emma Jones and their sons Kyan and Shaye.

    They were chosen from hundreds of hopefuls to serve as the inspiration for the bronze creation.

     
  51.  
    Statue ready to be unveiled 11:12: via Facebook

    Ikon Gallery posts: Not long now until we unveil Gillian Wearing's new sculpture for Birmingham - A Real Birmingham Family.

    Family of Birmingham statue ready to be unveiled

    What will it look like? We'll have a photo after it's unveiled on BBC Local Live after 11:30.

     
  52.  
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  53.  
    News on the hour 10:58: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

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  54.  
    Demand for sperm 10:50:

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    Newly registered sperm donors chart, 2005-2013

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  55.  
    Volunteering 10:45: via Facebook

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  56.  
    What will it look like? 10:34: Satnam Rana Arts reporter, BBC Midlands Today

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  57.  
    Why a sperm bank in Brum? 10:27:

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    Woman and child

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  58.  
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    Computer image of a sperm approaching an egg

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  59.  
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  60.  
    'Face of Birmingham' statue 09:52: Satnam Rana Arts reporter, BBC Midlands Today

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    • The Jones family

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  61.  
    'Job security' 09:45: Michelle Dawes Journalist, BBC WM

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    Workers from JLR centre in Wolverhampton ahead of the Queen's arrival

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  62.  
    Uk national sperm bank opens 09:32:

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    Birmingham National Sperm Bank

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  63.  
    Preparations for the Queen 09:19: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

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    Jonny Palmer, BBC WM reporter

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  64.  
    M6 delays 09:09:

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  65.  
    News on the hour 08:59: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

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  66.  
    As it happened
    • News, sport, travel, weather for Thurs 30 Oct
    • More updates from 08:00 on Friday
    • Listen: BBC WM
     
  67.  
    'Vast majority' of local jobs 08:56:

    Wolverhampton City Council tweets: JLR executive director says new plant creating 1,400 jobs - "vast majority" from Wolverhampton area.

     
  68.  
    Watch: Poppies nearly complete 08:42:

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    One of the poppies

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  69.  
    Man charged after crash death 08:32:

    A man is charged with causing a man's death and with seriously injuring the man's grandson in a collision in Shirley.

    Emergency services were called to Bills Lane at the junction with Langcomb Road in Shirley

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  70.  
    Queen to open JLR centre 08:20:

    Jaguar Land Rover's new Engine Manufacturing Centre near Wolverhampton will be officially opened by The Queen later.

    Jaguar Land Rover plant and a picture of the Queen

    It's cost £500m, will create 1,400 new jobs and is based at the i54 business park.

     
  71.  
    Patchy rain 08:13:

    A dull start with some mist and fog patches and outbreaks of patchy rain.

    The rain will clear although there'll still be one or two showers this afternoon. However, there'll also be some breaks in the cloud allowing for brighter spells.

    It'll feel milder than yesterday with highs of 17C (63F).

     
  72.  
    Good morning 08:00: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you the very latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    If you'd like to comment on any of the updates we're featuring today, please email or tweet @BBCWM.

     

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