Money launderer Carson Yeung faces being stripped of his shares in Birmingham City’s parent group.
The lead prosecution lawyer in Hong Kong, John Reading, has revealed that Yeung’s stake in Blues could be confiscated following his conviction on £57 million money laundering charges.
Meanwhile, new doubts have been cast on the original 2007 Blues deal which saw Yeung purchase 29.9 per cent of Blues from David Sullivan and the Golds.
Under Hong Kong law, shares held by Yeung in Blues parent group, Birmingham International Holdings, could now be seized as part of a criminal asset confiscation scheme.
“Any assets can be confiscated,” lead prosecution lawyer John Reading said. “I see no reason why shares should not be included.”
But he said the judge in Yeung’s case had not yet specified the amount he regarded as representative of the proceeds of crime.
Any confiscation process, however, could be lengthy.
“Enforcement may not take place until all avenues of appeal have been exhausted and that could take years,” said Simon Young, a Hong Kong University law professor.
Meanwhile, the original purchase by Yeung of 29.9 per cent of Blues for £15 million was under the microscope today after the court was told half the money came from payments into Yeung’s accounts by alleged triad leader Cheung Chi Tai.
Football finance expert Peter Knowles said: “If the Hong Kong authorities acquire those shares, and they say they were originally bought with dodgy money, then they will seize those assets and become BIHL’s largest shareholder.
“But the state of Hong Kong would not want to own a football club and they would put it up for sale to realise its value. If that goes ahead, then BIHL would quite easily be the subject of a bid.
“If dirty money has been involved, they would take the assets off him.”
Grandtop (now BIHL) paid £15 million for a 29.9 per cent stake in 2007 and the full takeover went through in October, 2009, at a cost of £81.5 million.
Yeung has 16.21 per cent of BIHL shares, but that will reach 28 per cent when recent deals and the £15 million owed to him is converted into shares.