Carson Yeung Ka-sing, the boss of English soccer club Birmingham City, made a big profit from running a hairdressing salon in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel more than 20 years ago, a court heard yesterday.
Forensic accountant Ian Robinson said Yeung ran Vole at The Peninsula hotel and earned HK$4 million to HK$10 million between 1989 and 1991.
Yeung founded high-end salons in Tsim Sha Tsui after his apprenticeships at salons from Britain and France, the court heard.
Robinson is taking the stand for the 52-year-old businessman, who is accused of laundering HK$721 million through five bank accounts from January 2001 to December 2007.
Prosecutor John Reading SC challenged the credibility of the figures cited by Robinson, saying the information was given by Yeung without third-party confirmation.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Reading said Yeung opened a place called Vanity Hair Salon in Kowloon in 1997 and his taxable income that year was HK$335,229. In 1998, the salon suffered a loss.
But Robinson said his estimation was "conservative" given his experience of running businesses in Hong Kong.
Concluding his report, Robinson told the District Court: "[Yeung] does not fit the profile of a money launderer. He could not be considered a 'low income' individual.
"It is extremely unlikely he would agree to let others use his accounts to launder money by remunerating him with only a small sum of money."
Asked about Yeung's acquisition of the football club, Robinson said: "If you are a launderer … you do not want to put the spotlight on yourself."
In 2007, Yeung became executive director and chairman of Grandtop International Holdings, which is now known as Birmingham International Holdings.
The following year, Grandtop acquired 29.9 per cent of the issued capital of Birmingham City FC for HK$237 million.
The trial will continue on Tuesday.