Lucky bets brought HK$62m windfall
Soccer boss Carson Yeung tells court he was a 'frequent visitor' to Macau and money deposited into his accounts was 'all winnings'
Cash cheques issued by a Macau casino operator founded by gambling mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun to Birmingham City Football Club owner Carson Yeung Ka-sing were part of his huge gambling wins in the former Portuguese colony, a court heard yesterday.
Yeung told the District Court that in the 2000s, he had paid "very frequent" visits to various casino VIP rooms in Macau, earning a windfall profit of up to HK$30 million.
The barber-turned-businessman said the HK$62 million cash cheques paid into his accounts by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), one of six companies authorised to operate casinos in Macau, were "all winnings".
Yeung denies five counts of money laundering involving more than HK$720 million deposited in five bank accounts from January 2001 to December 2007. Prosecutors have said the money was "criminal proceeds".
On Tuesday, Yeung said he amassed wealth of up to HK$100 million in 2000 by trading "penny stocks", running a chain of upmarket salons and investing in property projects in Malaysia and Thailand.
Yesterday, the court heard that Yeung, 53, first gambled in listed casino junket investor Neptune Group owned by Lin Cheuk-fung and Cheung Chi-tai.
Asked by his barrister Graham Harris SC to describe how successful he was as a baccarat player, he said: "[You] can say that I won."
The football club boss also told the court it was an uphill struggle persuading people to testify in his defence. He added: "Some of them even refused to answer my calls."
The people who stayed away from Yeung included two former staff members who had helped him handle various cash withdrawal transactions, the court heard.
Yeung, however, was thankful to former lawmaker Chim Pui-chung, who had earlier explained to Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong an off-market deal in which his second son sold 50 million shares of Kanstar Environmental Paper Products to Yeung at a quarter of the market price.
On Tuesday, Yeung told the court he dabbled in real estate and bought a hotel in Dongguan, Guangdong, before focusing on stock trading.
He said yesterday that he made HK$200 million from trading "third and fourth liner" stocks and red chips in 2001. He also had a "stock portfolio of HK$300 million" in 2006 and 2007.
Of all his stock deals, he said, 40 per cent were off-market. The public could not see the off-market transactions on the Teletext system, and the transaction prices were set by the participating parties, the court heard.
The hearing resumes on Monday.