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Hong Kong court rejects Birmingham City ex-boss appeal

Hong Kong (AFP) – Former Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung on Monday lost his appeal in Hong Kong’s top court against a six-year prison sentence for money laundering.

The 56-year-old was jailed for six years in March 2014 on five charges of laundering HK$721 million (US$93 million) in a case that gripped the southern Chinese city and fans of the English football club.

“His appeal was dismissed this morning,” a judiciary spokeswoman told AFP by phone, referring to Yeung’s case at Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal.

Yeung was sent back to jail following the verdict. 

Appearing distressed, he was taken away from the defendant’s dock by court officers, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported.

The high-profile case involved tales of unexplained dealings and financial transactions involving local businessmen and an alleged triad member.

Little known before his emergence in English football, hairdresser-turned-tycoon Yeung took control of Birmingham City in October 2009 in an £81 million (US$123 million) takeover. But he was charged less than two years after the acquisition.

He has stepped down from all club roles but retains a majority shareholding in the Hong Kong company — Birmingham International Holdings — that still nominally owns the club, though it is now in receivership.

Birmingham City were relegated from the Premiership in 2011, three months after winning the English League Cup. There have been talks about a potential change of ownership over the past few years.

Yeung was freed on bail in August when he was allowed to challenge a lower court that turned down his appeal application.

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