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Dublin: -1 °C Monday 18 November, 2019

Birmingham backer bailed in Hong Kong

His wealth has often been questioned since he rode Lancelot-like into the midst of St Andrews in 2009, but these fresh money-laundering charges have put the former hairdresser and apparent stock market whizz-kid under the spotlight once again.

Carson Yeung.
Carson Yeung.
Image: pa

CARSON YEUNG, THE owner of Birmingham City football club has been released on bail by a Hong Kong court, after being charged with money laundering.

Authorities in the Chinese colony, have charged Yeung with “dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of indictable offences.”  These proceeds according to the court total €64.1m

The millionaire Birmingham City owner’s story is as fascinating as it is bizarre. His wealth has often been questioned since he rode Lancelot – like into the midst of St Andrews in 2009,  but these fresh money-laundering charges have put the former hairdresser and apparent stock market whizz-kid, as well as casino owner and clothing magnate, under the spotlight once again.

Yeung paid  paid £81m  (€95m at the time)  to take over Birmingham City in 2009, getting in on the then  craze of the super rich to add a premier league team to the yachts, cars, stables and jewels they already owned.

Earlier today Yeung appeared in court in Hong Kong, less than 24 hours after being arrested by of all deparments – the narcotics police. According to press in the former UK colony, Yeung looked sombre during his appearance, lacking his usual trademark sauveness.

The 51-year-old was  released on bail of HK$7m (€622,000) and the trial adjourned until August 11.

The Hong Kong courts are becoming  familiar surroundings to Yeung. In 2004, he was set for a massive fall, which eventually became a small fine, after being prosecuted by the region’s financial regulator  for failing to disclose his holdings in a company.

Earlier this year Yeung’s finiancial clout again came into question when his holding in the Blues was reduced to 23.3%. Birmingham, despite myriad loot promised by Yeung, have struggled with debt; a fact not eased by their relegation to the championship on the last day of the season.

This news can only come as a shock to newly installed Blues manager, former Ireland international Chris Hughton. Just weeks into the job and fending off interest for his players; mainly from his predecessor Alex McLeish, Hughton must now deal with new ownership upheaveals.

However if any man is right for this job  it is the former Spurs full back. He returned Newcastle to the Premiership last season, despite having Mike Ashley as a chairman, and Joey Barton and Andy Carroll as the heartbeat of his team.

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