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HK court allows Birmingham City owner trip to Britain
Published : 30 Aug 2011 05:30:09
Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung, who has been charged with money-laundering in Hong Kong, was granted permission on Tuesday to travel to Britain to attend to his duties at the football club.
Yeung, a one-time hairdresser turned football tycoon, was given the greenlight by the city's district court to go to London after his cash bail was raised from HK$4 million to HK$8 million ($1.03 million).
"As director and chairman of his company, Yeung holds a duty to his shareholders in England," Yeung's lawyer Clive Grossman told the court.
"He has to speak to his board, players, fans and management.
"He is a high-profile person, a well-known personality in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. There is not the slightest chance of (him) absconding," added Grossman, saying Yeung plans to travel between September 15 and 19.
The prosecution objected to the change in Yeung's bail, saying "the offence is serious" and that the club already has an acting chairman and executive directors who can carry out Yeung's duties on his behalf.
The objection was overruled by court. In granting permission, it said Yeung is required to inform Hong Kong police of his travel plans and address in Britain.
Yeung, 51, faces five counts of "dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence", but the exact nature of the allegations remain unclear.
Prosecutors have said investigations revealed around HK$720 million ($92 million) passed through accounts connected with the tycoon.
Yeung, who surrendered his passport when he was charged in June, had been barred from leaving the southern Chinese city and a court application to grant him permission to travel overseas earlier this month was refused.
The Blues were relegated from the Premiership last season. Yeung took control of the club in October 2009 in an Â£81 million ($130 million) takeover from David Sullivan and David Gold, now the co-owners of West Ham.
The judge set December 7 for his next pre-trial court appearance. Yeung has yet to enter his plea.