English football was shocked by the arrest in Hong Kong of Carson Yeung Ka-sing, the chief and single-largest shareholder of Birmingham City FC's HKSE-listed holding company, Birmingham International Holdings, an investment, entertainment and sportswear firm registered in the Cayman Islands. BIH shares were suspended from trading.
Yeung was arrested by narcotics bureau investigators at his home on Wednesday and brought to court on Thursday, charged with five counts of "dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence" totalling some HK$721 million ($92.6 million) between 2001-2007. He was released on bail and surety of HK$7 million ($900,000) until the next court hearing on 11 August.
A former Chairman of Hong Kong Rangers FC and reportedly already a successful investor in a Macao casino, Yeung made his first takeover bid for Birmingham City in June 2007 but could not complete the deal, for about £81 million, until October 2009.
Tapping into the huge Chinese market to boost Blues revenue streams was a key strategy, he told media in 2007. He planned to set up a series of football academies in 10 cities initially which, in time, could provide the Blues with top players from China.
"I have confidence we can do very well for Birmingham in China. We have the support of the Chinese government, and we have a very good plan which will allow our idea to help promote Birmingham and turn it into an international club," said William Chan, Yeung's right-hand man.
"You will find the name of Mr Yeung in the newspapers in Hong Kong and China every day," said Chan.