Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Hong Kong court frees Birmingham ex-owner on bail

AFP, HONG KONG

Birmingham City’s jailed former owner Carson Yeung was freed on bail in Hong Kong yesterday pending an appeal against his conviction for money laundering.

Yeung, 55, was jailed for six years in March last year in a case that gripped the territory and fans of the English soccer club with its tales of unexplained dealings and financial transactions involving local businessmen and an alleged triad member.

Yeung was convicted on five charges of laundering HK$721 million (US$93 million).

A previous appeal bid was rejected in May, but Yeung was granted the right to challenge his conviction yesterday.

Yeung was freed by the Court of Final Appeal, the territory’s highest court, on HK$7 million bail and cash surety of HK$6 million, the South China Morning Post said.

Leave to appeal was granted based on legal questions raised by Yeung’s defense in written submissions, the Post reported. Yeung was charged in June 2011, two years after he bought the team.

He remains the largest shareholder in the club’s holding company, according to the Hong Kong stock exchange Web site, despite resigning from all positions before the trial verdict.

Birmingham City — who were relegated from the Premiership in 2011, three months after winning the English League Cup — have been in talks with potential bidders over the past few years.

Little known before his emergence in English soccer, Yeung, a hairdresser turned tycoon, took control of Birmingham City in October 2009 in an £81 million (US$126.3 million) takeover from David Sullivan and David Gold, now the co-owners of West Ham United.

Yeung’s appeal hearing is to take place on May 31 next year.

Meanwhile, in English League Cup results, Doncaster on Thursday defeated Leeds on penalties after extra time. The two sides were tied 1-1 from the first half until the end of regulation and extra time. In the shootout, Doncaster topped Leeds 4-2.

On Wednesday, Preston beat Crewe 3-1, Middlesbrough defeated Oldham 3-1 and Portsmouth emerged victorious over Derby 2-1.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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