HONG KONG, March 7 (Xiuhua) -- Carson Yeung, Hong Kong businessman and majority shareholder of English soccer club Birmingham City, was sentenced to six years in jail on Friday for laundering 721 million HK dollars (about 94 million U.S. dollars).
Yeung, 54, was found guilty on Monday of five charges of money laundering through five bank accounts between January 2001 to December 2007.
The court had heard that Yeung and his father, who died in 2012, reported no earnings for four or five years between 2001 and 2007 while enormous sums were deposited into their five bank accounts.
The prosecution charged that the deposits were made by various parties with no apparent reasons. Some were made by securities firms and a Macao casino company, while others by unknown parties.
Handing down the sentence, Hong Kong District Court Judge Douglas Yau said, "The sentence must include an element of deterrence to discourage those who are in a position to exploit the system."
"Maintaining the integrity of the banking system is of paramount importance if Hong Kong is to remain an international finance center," Yau added.
The prosecution will apply on April 3 for confiscation of some 400 million HK dollars of Yeung's assets, which has been frozen by a court injunction pending the outcome of the trial.
Yeung bought the Birmingham City in 2009 for 731 million HK dollars and was arrested in June 2011. He resigned from all his posts in the club's holding company last month but remains the club's biggest shareholder. (1 U.S. dollar = 7.76 U.S. dollars)