Birmingham City’s Yeung Loses Bid to Halt Trial

A Hong Kong judge rejected Birmingham City soccer boss Carson Yeung’s second appeal to have his money laundering trial tossed out.

District Court Judge Douglas Yau today said Yeung wasn’t prejudiced by new evidence submitted by the prosecution last week after the trial - now in its 52nd day - was extended to allow the businessman to take the stand.

Yeung, 53, first applied for a permanent stay in April, arguing that records of his wealth from stock trading couldn’t be obtained. He 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.

Yeung testified last month after Yau allowed him to reopen his defense to take the stand. Yeung said his own experts had failed to accurately portray his finances and how he parlayed a career as a high-priced celebrity hair stylist into stock picking and gambling. Checks from casinos linked to suspected triads were just returns on his investments, he testified.

Last week, the prosecution disclosed new documents during Yeung’s cross examination linking him to Abba Chan Tat-chee, a concert promoter convicted of embezzlement. The information came to light as part of a separate investigation, prosecutors said. Yeung’s lawyers said it was part of a pattern of late or incomplete disclosures that hurt their client’s ability to defend himself.

Premier League

Yeung 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 ($23 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.

Police allege that the purchase was partly funded by money connected to his laundering charges. His lawyers say he earned that money from trading stocks.

Birmingham International has been struggling to pay its bills and has held talks with potential buyers. The club was relegated from the elite Premier League in 2011, a month before Yeung, its largest shareholder, was arrested.

Earlier this month, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange it was discussing ways to raise money or restructure its debt. Shares could resume trading by the end of the year, it said.

The case is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Yeung Ka-sing Carson, DCCC860/2011 in the Hong Kong District Court.