Carson Yeung

Carson Yeung 'met Beijing heavyweight'

The Birmingham City soccer club owner saw Jia Qinglin, formerly one of the higher-ranking members of the Standing Committee, court told

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 5:55am

Birmingham City soccer club owner Carson Yeung Ka-sing met Jia Qinglin, one of the highest ranking members of China's Standing Committee before he retired last year, a court heard yesterday.

Joseph Ng Loi-ping, one of Yeung's friends, spoke of the reception when the defence asked him to describe Yeung's reputation on the mainland. The details of the meeting - when and where it took place - were not given.

The District Court also heard that Yeung made a donation of 10 million yuan (HK$12.52 million) to Tibet for the region's development in 2009.

Ng said he was aware that most of the "tens of millions of dollars" in charitable donations that Yeung had made went to the mainland.

Yeung, a 52-year-old barber-turned-businessman, is being tried for knowingly dealing in ill-gotten gains involving HK$721 million with five bank accounts from January 2001 to December 2007. He denies the five charges.

Defence layer Graham Harris SC has been trying to show that Yeung was already relatively wealthy before the alleged money-laundering took place.

Ng said he was a client at Yeung's salon Vole at The Peninsula Hotel along with movie stars Jackie Chan and Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia.

He said that in 1989, he was paying Yeung HK$500 for a haircut, plus a HK$220 tip.

Forensic accountant Ian Robinson earlier said Yeung earned between HK$4 million and HK$10 million from operating the salon between 1989 and 1991.

Ng also testified why he thought Yeung had acquired the English soccer club.

"Mr Yeung was very passionate about football," he said. "Many people could see Chinese football was terrible. It was his intention to open many training schools [on the mainland] after buying the club."

Yeung became executive director and chairman of Grandtop International, now known as Birmingham International, which controls Birmingham City, in 2007.

The court also heard from Tanrich Securities' vice-president Chan Wei-kwun. She said the turnover in Yeung's securities account with her former employer ASG Brokerage was HK$258 million between May and July 2001.

Chan said Yeung's trading volume had been "very considerable" all along. She left for Tanrich when ASG closed in 2003.

Prosecutor John Reading SC presented the court with two monthly statements of Yeung's account at Tanrich showing his margin limit had dropped from HK$7 million in December 2001 to HK$3 million in the next month.

Chan said the decrease could have been due to "a volatile market" or the fact that Yeung's trading volume was not large enough.

The court heard Yeung once held 25 to 35 securities trading accounts with different brokers.

The trial continues before Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong.