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Carson Yeung, owner of the English soccer club Birmingham City, won a delay of his trial on money laundering charges until April 29.
Hong Kong District Court Judge Douglas Yau today granted the request from Yeung’s lawyer, who said the defense needed more time to gather evidence to show how the hairdresser became a successful businessman.
Birmingham International Holdings Ltd. (2309), the West Midlands- based team’s parent company, has been suspended from trading in Hong Kong since June 2011, when Yeung, its chairman, was charged with five counts of money laundering which involved HK$721.3 million ($93 million). He was refused permission to leave the city before his trial and lost a bid last week for a delay until June.
Yeung and his father owned a hotel in China before 2001 and he was already wealthy at the time the alleged offenses began in 2001, his lawyer Joseph Tse told the court earlier.
John Reading, a lawyer for the prosecution, argued that little had changed since the court rejected a similar application last week and the trial shouldn’t be delayed.
“I do not agree that the defendant has been trying to delay” the proceedings, Yau said. He scheduled 25 days for the trial next year.
Yeung, 52, bought Birmingham City in October 2009 for 81.5 million pounds ($130.6 million) from David and Ralph Gold and David Sullivan. He paid for the club using funds from a share offering underwritten by Kingston Securities Ltd. (KINSEZ), controlled by billionaire Chu Yuet-wah, which has interests including casino operations in Macau and investment services.
Birmingham International said last week that negotiations to sell the team to a prospective Hong Kong-based buyer were at an advanced stage. The company’s auditors resigned in October and the company hasn’t published financial results since February 2011.
Birmingham City was relegated from the English Premier League in 2011, three months after winning the League Cup final.
The charges against Yeung have the “hallmark of money laundering” according to forensic experts, the prosecution said when the case was first brought to court in June 2011.
Cash was deposited in five bank accounts, including two of which belonging to Yeung’s father, and then transferred to securities accounts to “hide the real source of funds,” according to police evidence disclosed in a related court proceeding in May.
The case is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Yeung Ka-sing Carson, DCCC860/2011 in the Hong Kong District Court.
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