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Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung jailed for money laundering

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0848 GMT (1648 HKT)
Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung leaves court in Hong Kong in this file picture dated April 29, 2013.
Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung leaves court in Hong Kong in this file picture dated April 29, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Owner of British soccer club Birmingham City Carson Yeung jailed for 6 years
  • 54-year-old businessman was found guilty of laundering US$93 million between 2001 and 2007
  • The Hong Kong tycoon acquired the British soccer club in 2009 in $130 million takeover
  • Yeung said in his trial that he accumulated the money through businesses, stock trading and gambling

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Carson Yeung Ka-sing, a Hong Kong tycoon and owner of British soccer club Birmingham City, was jailed for six years Friday for laundering HK$721 million (US$93 million).

The 54-year-old businessman was convicted by a court in his home city earlier this week.

"The sentence must include an element of deterrence to discourage those who are in a position to exploit the system," said Judge Douglas Yau.

"Maintaining the integrity of the banking system is of paramount importance if Hong Kong is to remain an international finance center."

Yeung previously denied the charges that he had laundered money between 2001 and 2007 during a 50-day trial that he had twice tried to halt, according to local Hong Kong media.

His father, Yeung Chung, a co-accused, died in 2012.

Yeung was arrested and charged in Hong Kong in June 2011, two years after he acquired the "Blues."

Blues control

Yeung, little known prior to his emergence in English football, took control of the club in October 2009 in an 81-million pound ($130 million) takeover.

At the time, he was only the second Asian, after deposed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to own a British premier league club.

In February, Yeung resigned as chairman and executive director of Birmingham International Holdings Limited (BIHL), which owns the struggling second-tier club.

Throughout the trial, Yeung said he accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars through stock trading, business ventures in mainland China, gambling and even hairdressing.

He claimed he made HK$20 million as a hairdresser, catering to movie stars and businessmen from a chain of upmarket salons, one of them in Hong Kong's five-star Peninsula Hotel.

The prosecution will apply net month to confiscate some of Yeung's assets.

CNN's Wilfred Chan contributed to this report.

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