Carson Yeung, owner of Birmingham City Football Club, failed to provide credible evidence in his defense during a money laundering trial, Hong Kong prosecutors said.
The prosecution included in its court filings an 11-point list of inconsistencies from Yeung’s 2 weeks on the stand, including varying accounts of his investments in a Macau casino and gambling syndicate.
“His evidence was completely lacking in credibility,” John Reading, the prosecution lawyer, told a Hong Kong court today in closing arguments at the end of a 53-day trial. Yeung wasn’t able to show that his wealth came from stock trading, Reading said.
Yeung has pleaded not guilty to five charges of laundering HK$721.3 million ($93 million) of deposits from parties including a Macau casino operator and securities firms over a seven-year period to 2007. Part of the money was used to pay for a stake in the English soccer club, the prosecutors said.
The former hair stylist was chairman of Grandtop International Holdings Ltd., which in 2007 bought a 29.9 percent stake in the West Midlands, U.K.-based soccer club for 15 million pounds ($25 million). Yeung bought the rest of the club in 2009, paying 81.5 million pounds to David and Ralph Gold and David Sullivan, and Grandtop changed its name to Birmingham International Holdings Ltd.
Yeung’s lawyers today said prosecutors failed to prove that his money didn’t come from investments and gambling winnings. Documents pertaining to the case were also released late, which was unfair to the defense, his lawyer Graham Harris said.
“More and more documents kept trickling in a bit like a dripping tap,” Harris said.
Yeung, 53, twice applied unsuccessfully for the trial to be halted, citing reasons including that he was prejudiced by new prosecution evidence.
Last month, Birmingham International said it would issue HK$190.1 million of bonds to Yeung to remove the club’s debt owed to him. That may make Birmingham City more attractive to potential buyers of a minority stake in the team, it said.
Birmingham International said it had a net loss of HK$118.8 million for the year ending June 30. Shares in the company are suspended.
The case is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Yeung Ka-sing Carson, DCCC860/2011 in the Hong Kong District Court.