Birmingham City owner wraps up testimony in HK money-laundering trial
By Alexandra Hoegberg
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Birmingham City Football Club owner Carson Yeung wrapped up his testimony on Tuesday, four weeks after he first took the witness stand in a $93 million money-laundering trial that has cast a spotlight on how the barber-turned-businessman made his fortune.
Yeung, a former hair stylist to Hong Kong's rich and famous and head of Hong Kong-listed Birmingham International Holdings Ltd, told the court he amassed his wealth through hairdressing, share trading, real estate purchases in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and London, gambling and other investments.
"(It was) quite successful," the 53-year-old told the Hong Kong court on several occasions, referring to his business dealings, which also included multi-million dollar gambling sessions on the baccarat tables in Macau.
"I gambled as if it was a business," he said, in a case that has grabbed headlines in Hong Kong and is being closely watched by fans of English football team Birmingham City.
Yeung has denied five charges of money-laundering involving HK$721 million ($93 million). The offences allegedly took place from January 2001 to December 2007 and involved five bank accounts.
The trial has revealed the flamboyant businessman's close ties to Macau's casino world, both as an investor and gambler, and how that facilitated business investments that helped him amass his wealth.
GAMBLING IN MACAU
The football club boss told the court how he first started gambling in the former Portuguese enclave of Macau around 1997 and in 2004 was introduced to the Neptune VIP Club, a gambling facility in Macau's Casino Lisboa. There he received a credit line of HK$10 million without the need for him to provide proof of his assets. Continued...