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Birmingham City owner sentenced to 6 years

HONG KONG -- Carson Yeung, the part-owner of English Championship club Birmingham City, has been sentenced to six years in jail for money laundering.

Hong Kong District Court judge Douglas Yau handed down the sentence on Friday after Yeung was found guilty on Monday over the receipt of HK$721 million (US$93 million) using five bank accounts between January 2001 and December 2007.

The court had heard that 54-year-old Yeung and his father, who died in 2012, reported no earnings for four or five years between 2001 and 2007 yet had vast sums deposited into their bank accounts.

Some deposits were made by securities firms and a Macau casino company, while others were made by unknown parties, many in cash.

The charges are unrelated to Birmingham City, which the 54-year-old hairdresser-turned-businessman bought in 2009 for 81.5 million pounds (then US$130 million).

However the prosecution will apply on April 3 to confiscate some HK$400 million (US$52 million) of Yeung's assets, which has been frozen by a court injunction pending the outcome of the trial.

Birmingham won the 2011 League Cup, ending 48 years without a major trophy, but despite the victory was relegated from the Premier League the same year.

Yeung had already resigned his directorships with Birmingham ahead of the verdict and his stake is now below 30 percent, ensuring he does not breach Football League rules concerning people convicted of offenses involving dishonesty.

The Football League also said “funding arrangements” are in place until at least the end of the season.

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