HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hairdresser turned tycoon and Birmingham City club owner Carson Yeung was released on HK$7 million (558,000 pounds) bail after being charged with money laundering by a Hong Kong court on Thursday.
The 51-year-old owns the club through the Hong Kong-listed Birmingham International and was charged with “dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of indictable offences” totalling about HK$721 million, the Hong Kong magistrate court said.
The trial was adjourned until August 11.
“All they’re saying is that he (Yeung) has got a lot of money, and he hasn’t paid a lot of tax,” Yeung’s lawyer Daniel Marash told reporters after bail was granted.
“I mean there’s lots of money in my bank account, not as much as his, but I don’t pay taxes because it’s not taxable.”
The prosecution had argued that Yeung did not have close ties to Hong Kong, and should not be granted bail because his father had lived in mainland China since 2008 and Yeung was also married to a woman from there.
Decked in a black jacket and a peach shirt, Yeung remained silent throughout proceedings in the packed courtroom except to ask if he could report at an alternative police station during bail. He was also told to surrender his travel documents.
Shares of Birmingham International, the Championship club’s parent company, which has a market value of HK$550 million, were suspended on Thursday.
The company declined to comment but Yeung’s lawyer said in court that trade may resume after he was released.
Yeung took over Birmingham City in October 2009, soon after they were promoted back to the Premier League after a season in the Championship.
Birmingham beat Arsenal to win the League Cup in February, the club’s first major trophy since 1963, to qualify for next season’s Europa League competition, but were relegated on the last day of the season following a late loss of form.
Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by John O'Brien