Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung has been jailed for six years, following the outcome of his money-laundering investigation in Hong Kong, reports the BBC.
Yeung’s business dealings have been under the spotlight of a perturbed group of City supporters ever since his takeover in 2009.
Those suspicions were confirmed on Friday when he was given a custodial sentence after failing to account for $720 million Hong Kong Dollars – the equivalent of around £55 million that passed through various accounts under his direction.
Having taken over from current West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan, Yeung promised a flurry of investment but victory in the 2011 League Cup Final against Arsenal was followed by relegation.
In line with a number of protests at St Andrew’s, City fans now face having their worst fears confirmed. Parent company Birmingham International Holdings Ltd.
(BIHL) are still controlled by Yeung, who was forced to resign as president of the football club due to his ongoing trial. His imprisonment is likely to have serious implications for the Blues, who now face the rather daunting prospect of attracting new owners to what, at present, remains a highly unattractive proposition.
Sitting in 17th place in the Championship, City are unlikely to be relegated again but have no hope of promotion, and their countless off-field problems mean they may have trouble drawing in potential buyers.
One such suitor, however, is former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini, who has expressed an interest in buying the troubled outfit.
The charges are completely unrelated to his handling of the football club, but such a hefty jail term may result in an investigation into any links to Yeung’s shady dealings, which were alleged to be carried out in a joint venture with his father, who died in 2012.
Over £30 million of his assets had already been frozen pending the outcome of the trial.
Yeung, a former hairdresser, had previously claimed that his fortunes came from shrewd trading on the stock market, but will now complete his undignified return to obscurity.
Meanwhile, manager Lee Clark has won universal praise for his handling of his team amidst a legacy of woe left by the outgoing businessman.
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