Carson Yeung faces city court
Tycoon Carson Yeung Ka-sing appeared in court yesterday on five counts of money laundering involving more than HK$721 million in five different accounts.
The owner of soccer club Birmingham City - relegated from the English Premier League at the end of last season - was taken to Eastern Court by police car after being detained overnight at police headquarters in Wan Chai. He was arrested by officers from the police narcotics bureau's financial investigations unit at his home on The Peak on Wednesday morning.
The court heard that four Wing Lung Bank accounts and one HSBC account were suspected to have been used for money laundering between January 2001 and December 2007, involving more than HK$721 million. But the actual amount of money reported as taxable income was substantially less than that.
Prosecutor Hayson Tse Ka-sze told the court that experts found 'hallmarks of money laundering' in the five accounts, but still needed time to investigate the transactions. Three of the accounts, under Yeung's name, were found to have deposits of HK$632 million, but only HK$1.65 million was reported as taxable income, the court heard.
The court was also told that two other accounts, under his father's name, had deposits of HK$88.4 million, but only HK$6,880 was reported as taxable income. The money was later transferred under the instructions of Yeung.
Daniel Marash SC, for Yeung, said the prosecutor failed to indicate the source of the money and what indictable offence it was linked to.
Vico Hui Ho-luek, executive director of Birmingham International Group, through which the soccer club is owned, said outside court that it was operating normally although the transfer of shares was suspended.
'It is only the personal matters of Mr Yeung, so I don't think it has any impact on the company and the football club,' he said.
The Hong Kong-born owner of the English Midlands club, who appeared to be calm throughout the proceedings, was not required to enter a plea and was released on bail of HK$7 million. He was required to pay HK$2 million immediately and another HK$2 million in seven days.
The remaining HK$3 million would be paid by Hui and Victor Ma Shui-cheong, managing director of SMI publishing, which publishes Chinese-language newspaper Sing Pao Daily News, as a surety. Yeung is the major shareholder of the publisher. Yeung was also required to surrender his travel documents and report to The Peak police station three times a week.
Yeung walked out of the court building six hours after the case was adjourned without answering any questions from the media, causing chaotic scenes as a swathe of reporters waited for him to appear.
The case was adjourned to August 11 by acting Principal Magistrate David Dufton.