Yeung handed six-year prison term

Carson Yeung was sentenced in Hong Kong on Friday

Carson Yeung was sentenced in Hong Kong on Friday

First published in National Sport News © by

Birmingham owner Carson Yeung has been sentenced to six years in prison for money laundering by a court in Hong Kong.

Businessman Yeung, the club's majority shareholder, was found guilty on five counts of money laundering on Monday and was duly sentenced on Friday.

It remains to be seen whether the 54-year-old will appeal against the length of the jail term.

He was arrested and charged in 2011 having bought Blues two years earlier, and had denied laundering 720million Hong Kong dollars (£55.4million) through his accounts between 2001 and 2007.

Yeung last month resigned from his position on the boards of the football club, Birmingham City plc and Birmingham International Holdings Limited (BIHL), the club's parent company.

Yeung's conviction will have "no impact on the day-to-day operations" at Birmingham, according to acting chairman Peter Pannu when he issued a statement earlier this week.

He went on to add: "Birmingham International Holdings Limited, the holding company, shall continue to support the football club under the leadership of the group's new chairman, Mr Cheung Shing, and will work to raise further investment to support Birmingham City FC going forward."

Pannu's response to Monday's court proceedings was followed by a similar one from parent company BIHL.

Meanwhile, the Football League earlier this week stated it was satisfied Birmingham complies with its requirements regarding ownership as well as having funding arrangements in place until at least the end of the season.

The League's 'owners' and directors' test' prohibits anyone convicted of offences involving dishonesty from owning more than 30 per cent of a member club - a figure which Yeung already does not meet - or exercising control over a club.

Yeung completed a takeover of Birmingham in October 2009.

Since he took charge, City have won the League Cup but have been relegated from the Barclays Premier League and are currently 17th in the Sky Bet Championship table.

Yeung, who had his assets frozen, cut ties with the midlands club at the start of February to focus more time on his ongoing court case and to crucially satisfy one of the requirements for the resumption of trading of BIHL's suspended shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

City's parent company subsequently agreed to sell 12 per cent of its stake in the club to a Beijing-based advertising business, a deal which has since been delayed.

Despite the noises coming from the powers that be at St Andrew's, Birmingham supporters' group Blues Trust hopes Yeung's conviction "marks the beginning of a new era" at the midlands club although it acknowledges that is unlikely to happen in the short term.

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