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article imageBirmingham's Yeung money-laundering verdict delayed

By AFP     Feb 28, 2014 in Business

Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung will have to wait until next week to find out whether he has been convicted in a multi-million dollar money-laundering trial as the judge adjourned a long verdict hearing until next week.

The Hong Kong tycoon had been expecting to discover his fate on Friday, the culmination of a case that has rumbled through the courts for the last two years.

But after reading his summary for five hours, District Court Judge Douglas Yau adjourned proceedings having only read half way through his verdict statement.

"The reading of the verdict for today will stop here," Yau told a Hong Kong courtroom packed with reporters and members of the public. "We resume at 9:30 am on Monday."

Yeung, wearing a dark suit, looked exhausted four hours into the reading of the verdict and was seen nodding off a couple of times in the dock.

Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung (C) applauds at the end of Birmingham's Carling Cup match ag...
Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung (C) applauds at the end of Birmingham's Carling Cup match against Arsenal at the Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011
Adrian Dennis, AFP/File

He denies five money-laundering charges totalling $93 million and has repeatedly tried to have proceedings halted claiming irregularities.

Yeung was arrested and charged with ill-gotten gains in the southern Chinese city in June 2011, two years after he acquired the "Blues".

The adjournement caused frustration among some Birmingham City fans, many of whom were UK-based and had stayed up late into the night to discover what would become of their club's owner.

"This Carson yeung trial is farcical just goes on and on and on," Birmingham based Twitter user @ecakeeprighton wrote.

"My God, this Carson Yeung trial is like watching Eastenders or Coronation Street!! It drags on and on, it's like pulling your teeth out," @mickbcfc1975 tweeted, referring to two long-running and popular British soap operas.

Some fans used the Twitter tag #DelayNoMore to express their wishes for the case to conclude, which also conveniently sounds like a Chinese profanity.

Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung at the football club in central England on October 15  2009
Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung at the football club in central England on October 15, 2009
Leon Neal, AFP/File

Throughout the trial, Yeung and the prosecution have painted differing pictures of how the businessman's wealth was amassed.

Yeung said he accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in the past two decades through stock trading, hairdressing, business ventures in mainland China and a keen interest in gambling.

However, prosecutor John Reading argued that Yeung's accounts showed that before 2001 he was a man of "modest means".

Yeung, who was 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 from David Sullivan and David Gold, now the co-owners of West Ham.

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

The Blues won the League Cup in 2011, but their fortunes have gone downhill since they were relegated later that year.

Yau had nearly finished summarising the trial hearings after he read up to page 46 of the prepared verdict statement, which he said was around 100 pages long. He said the ruling would come at the end of his statement.

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