Asia

Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung pleads not guilty

Birmingham City Football Club owner Carson Yeung (R) arrives at a district court in Hong Kong on Monday to answer money-laundering charges
Image caption Mr Yeung, right, has made several attempts to have the case against him postponed or struck out entirely

Birmingham City Football Club owner Carson Yeung pleaded not guilty to money-laundering charges as he went on trial in Hong Kong.

Mr Yeung is facing five charges of moving HK$720m (£60m) illicitly through bank accounts controlled by himself and his father.

But his defence team moved to have the much-delayed proceedings against him thrown out.

Judge Douglas Yau was set to hear arguments for and against the move.

Mr Yeung's lawyers have once already been granted a delay to proceedings, after arguing successfully in November that they needed more time to prepare his defence.

But Mr Yeung has also made several unsuccessful attempts to have the case postponed or struck out - the last in March, when a court rejected as "frivolous" an attempt to have the case moved to the High Court.

Mr Yeung worked in the UK as a teenager before becoming a hairstylist in Hong Kong. He made his fortune investing in nearby Macau in the 1990s and is a well-known property developer in Hong Kong.

The allegations predate Mr Yeung's involvement with Birmingham City, which he took over in 2009.

He was arrested in June 2011. The precise nature of the charges against him have not been publicised.

Clampdown

Mr Yeung appeared at the Hong Kong district court on Monday morning and appeared calm as he pleaded not guilty to the charges, reports said.

But his lawyers immediately lodged the application for a permanent stay of proceedings against him.

Trading in Birmingham International Holdings (BIH), the company which owns Birmingham City FC, has been suspended since the arrest of Mr Yeung, its largest shareholder.

Analysts say Hong Kong authorities are trying to clamp down on money-laundering - seen as a growing problem in the financial centre.

They are carrying out more and more high-profile investigations and prosecutions, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Hong Kong.

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