Birmingham City Football Club boss Carson Yeung Ka-sing may have had liquidity problems in the early 2000s, it was suggested yesterday, despite his earlier claims he was financially healthy after getting back on his feet from the 1998 market collapse.
The prosecution told the District Court yesterday that the barber-turned-businessman had an overdue amount of about HK$2.5 million in his margin account with Chung Nam Securities in 2002. Presenting the court with an agreement that showed the overdue amount, prosecutor John Reading SC said: "Does it merely reflect the factual situation that you had indicated that you were not able to repay the amount of HK$2.5-odd million?"
"It should not be the situation," Yeung said. The broker had wrongly debited his account "because they placed a wrong order at the time".
The prosecution later said the overdue amount was settled in November 2003.
Yeung, 53, is being tried over five counts of money laundering totalling HK$721 million. The offences allegedly took place from January 2001 to December 2007, and involved five bank accounts with Wing Lung Bank and HSBC. He denies the charges.
Yesterday, the prosecution also pointed out that former lawmaker Chim Pui-chung was the largest shareholder of Neptune Group, the listed arm of one of Macau's biggest gambling junket operators, despite Yeung's claims that its major shareholder was Lin Cheuk-fung.
The court heard yesterday that Chim held the shares through two of his companies, Gallery Land and Golden Mount, and by personal investment. Chim held 1.835 billion shares in the junket investor, accounting for 14.8 per cent of the overall shareholding.
Chim 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.
Prosecutors earlier questioned Yeung about a HK$20 million deposit from Cheung Chi-tai, also known as "Tsang Pau", into his account. Asked if he knew Cheung was a suspected triad boss, Yeung said: "I only know he is my business partner."
The trial will resume on Thursday.