Often Partisan

Who is Carson Yeung?

Ever since Carson Yeung took over Birmingham City in October 2009, one question that has dogged messageboards, forums and even the press is just who Carson Yeung is. Even now, nearly two years after he completed his protracted takeover Yeung remains an enigma to Birmingham fans, with very little known about him. With this in mind, I’ve spent a little bit of time to try and piece together what I can about our esoteric Chinese major shareholder.

Yeung Ka-Shing, to use his proper Cantonese name, was born on February 27, 1960. Not much is known about his early life, although I’ve seen mention that he spent three years working in London as a teenager.

This is the only picture I’ve ever seen on the internet of Carson with his father, and I’m ashamed to say as yet I don’t know his name. Interestingly, Carson’s father is named as account holder for two of the accounts that are being investigated in connection with Carson’s current legal woes. Carson’s father is married to his second wife now, a lady from the mainland – ie the PR China proper – and he lives there with her, as he has since 2008.

Carson has two children; Ryan, who I believe is either 16 or 17, and Camilla who is eight months old and has previously featured on this blog. Carson has definitely been married once – to a lady called Lee Yong-Shi, and is currently living with Camilla’s mother Man Wang-Li in his HK$200mil home on Barker Road. I’ve seen Man Wang-Li referred to by one newspaper as Carson’s girlfriend, and by Sing Pao (Carson’s newspaper) as “most beloved wife”.

Carson has often been described as a “hairdresser”, or more derogatorily as a “barber” by the media here. It’s true that he started off as a hair stylist; he became very good at it, getting a job at top HK stylist “le Salon” before opened his own hair salon called “Vanity”, which was in the Royal Garden Hotel in HK – and this was hardly blue rinses and curlers territory. Having your hair styled at “Vanity” would easily set you back hundreds of pounds. As this developed, Carson opened a a chain of hairdressing salons based in Hong Kong hotels, and by the late nineties Carson was allegedly earning HK$100k per month (approx £8,300) profit from this venture. It’s all a bit different to the old duffer with his razor, number 2 comb and dusty sports photographs on the wall. Even back then, Carson was running into trouble with the taxman with one source I’ve seen alleging a debt of HK$10,000 (approx £800) being chased through the courts; credit card companies chasing arrears of HK$21,000 (approx £1700) and legal fees of HK$220,000 mounting up.

Carson has always been interested in real estate too; he was involved in property dealings in Dongguan (a city up the coast from HK) in 1989, and in 1997 he bought a complex of 2 units and 10 car-parking spaces in Beverley Park, Fanling, HK for HK$14.5mil (approx £1.2mil). Around the same time he bought an apartment in Ying Piu Mansions with his then wife Li Yongshi for HK$5.34mil; a property he still owns.

It was at this property the Telegraph appeared to interview Carson when he first took over the club; however, by then Carson had moved into the Barker Road apartments he had bought in 2005 for HK$146mil in cash. This is the same property that Carson part-mortgaged to ensure Birmingham City had cashflow for the end of last season.

After the turn of the millennium is the point where Carson really started to make money; and this is the part that is interesting detectives in Hong Kong. Carson had started to get involved in the Macau gambling industry, and already had been making money on “penny stocks”. This is definitely where it gets fuzzy, and I think much more will come out about this when his court case starts on August 11th. The problem that Carson faces is that between 2001 and 2007 he declared an income of HK$1.6mil to the authorities, when hundreds of millions of HK dollars flowed through his accounts. As mentioned earlier in this article, his father’s name was on two of the accounts and his father declared just HK$6880 in the same period.

It’s definite that Carson was a founding shareholder in the “Greek Mythology” casino in Macau, along with a gentleman named Ng Man-Sun (aka Ng Wai). Gambling is a huge business in the former Portuguese colony, and it’s there that Carson is likely to have met Pollyana Chu, who is a major shareholder within Golden Resorts Group, another casino operator in Macau. Carson is rumoured to still have a stake in “Greek Mythology”, but as the company is a private limited company I can’t obtain the information currently to ratify that.

Most of Carson’s money has been made offshore from HK; BIH is based in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands and many of Carson’s other ventures that have been mentioned have been holding companies based either in the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands. What’s bothering the police in HK is where the money into Carson’s account has come from; they are still searching to try and prove that it came from organised crime or similar. From what I can see though, they’re going to have to get information on Carson’s money from the various tax havens where his companies are based, and I don’t see that being easy for one second.

Carson has fell foul of the law before on technicalities whilst playing the stock market; in 2004 he was fined HK$43,000 for offences relating to manipulating prices on the stock exchange; although this pales into comparison with the amount of money it’s alleged Carson made. Whilst earning money from his casino investment in Macau, Carson is supposed to have learnt stock market tips from Stanley Ho, a famous casino owner and enterpeneur in Macau and Hong Kong, and to have made his fortune then.

Having tried to find out about how Carson has made his money, I’m of the belief that I think he’s going to be found not guilty. I can’t see it being easy for the HK police to absolutely nail an offence to him; yes, he had a lot of money flowing through his account but that is not conclusive proof that he earnt more than he legitimately declared. I think they’ll struggle to show where the money came from; the casino business is murky anyway and I suspect being involved with some of the main players Carson was shown how to squirrel money away legally to avoid paying tax as much as possible.

Carson does remain an enigma; without speaking to the man direct all we have to go on is what other people have researched, and what is in the public domain.

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20 Responses to “Who is Carson Yeung?”

  • See, we make money long time and it all legit. It mus’ be because Almajir say so. He proper journalis’ and we love long time for this. No’ like sirry Birmin’ham Mail who jus’ talk about David Preat an’ thing like this. Excellent work.
    http://peoplesrepublicofbrum.com/

  • Billy Blue says:

    You might need to quickly re-phrase the words, ‘I’m of the belief that I think he’s going to get away with it’, in the penultimate paragraph. That could well be considered litigious, especially the way PP looks at things.
    An interesting article, and good to have in one place, but sadly doesn’t add any information that isn’t already well known and widely available.
    KRO

  • Half Full says:

    Billy Blue “An interesting article, and good to have in one place, but sadly doesn’t add any information that isn’t already well known and widely available.” it seems to be a little more balanced article than is coming from the london press, even today the telegraph and guardian are spouting the same rubbish as always. Even quoting that we could be in serious trouble because of our £7.5m overdraft.

  • Billy Blue says:

    Half Full… I didn’t say that it was not a balanced article. The article in fact doesn’t discuss the financial situation at all, it is a potted personal history of Carson himself. All I stated was that it was an interesting article, but that there was no new information that wasn’t already widely publicly available. My comment was that it was, ‘good to have [the information] in one place’.

    Carson’s, and BIHL finances, have been ‘conveniently’ ignored by all our local media, and, imo, if they had taken a more pro-active stance in looking ‘behind the smiles’ when Carson arrived, then perhaps Blues would not be in the situation we now find ourselves. It has therefore been left to the London media to investigate and report, sometime inaccurately, when it could, and should, have been our local media initially doing that job.

    The problem seems to be that anyone who relies on having regular contact with Blues for their reporting, appears to turn a blind eye when it comes to the reporting, or investigating, of Carson and/or Pannu, even more so since Pannu issued his threat to sue anything that moved if there was anything he didn’t like was being stated.

    One thing for sure, is that Blues will come through this, it always does, whoever the transient custodian, and our supporters, to whom the Club really belongs, will always remain.

    KRO

  • KiwiJohn says:

    I have worked in the “City” and I have to say that CY is a pretty shrewed businessman. The set up and financials of his companies are complex even for those in the know. One thing I can say for sure is that the press reports are just scaremongering. BCFC is not effected by the allegations in HK or by the goings on with BIH which he is using as a vehicle for funding. Yes we (BCFC) have to make our books balance independently of CY cash injections – but that is business wherever you are. Remember CY is the largest shareholder – not the only one! The other shareholders are investors who will want to keep the business running.
    Anyway, we will see what transpires off the field and hope for an entertaining season.
    I like the new kit! KRO

  • AR says:

    Billy Blue must be much better informed than most of us on CY. This information isn’t obviously “widely available” to us less savvy supporters, & I for one am very grateful to almajir for all his articles. How exactly does BB think that the local media could have prevented the mess we might be in? If he is so knowledgeable on CY’s financial affairs (& a Blues’ fan?) couldn’t he or shouldn’t he have done something about it all himself?

    • Billy Blue says:

      AR, The message board on the Birmingham Mail has numerous posts on Carson, Pannu, BIHL etc personal and in particular the finances.

      I appreciate the Birmingham Mail message board is not the most obvious, or most used, place to read/discuss/discover aspects about Blues/CY/BIHL etc.., but it is place I have gained nearly all my understanding of the situation. There appear to be about 5-6 people on there, who have carried out vast amounts of research, seem prepared to post/share that information, and have been doing so for the last 12 months.

      I agree that almajir’s article is interesting, and, as I stated, it’s useful to have information pulled together. I’m not having a go at almajir in any way or sense, and appreciate the work he puts into this site. Unfortunately, he, like many others, seem to feel restricted in discussing CY’s and/or BIHL finances to any depth.

      Keep up the good work almajir, your discussion posts are always interesting and I can appreciate the amount of work it all takes to share your views and research with others.

      I feel that there will be no quick end to the Carsongate affair, with his next court hearing, on 11 August, being nothing more than an update to decide how much longer the authorities need, or Carson himself needs, before a court case can commence. It is likely to be a few months at minimum and could last as long as a piece of string, especially, as you state (and I’m in total agreement) CY’s companies are so well entrenched in secrecy in Countries where it is incredibly difficult to extract information.

      I believe that CY will be ‘moved aside’ by other Directors and leading shareholders, in order to ensure they don’t lose their entire stake, if nothing else. One other potential conundrum, is who the other shareholders actually are, and what will happen when/if they are eventually ‘outed’?

      KRO

      • almajir says:

        The fact is Billy, there isn’t much else to go on.

        Accounts of private limited companies are hard to get; accounts from BVI and Cayman Island registered companies is going to be impossible. Even in HK speculation about Carson has dried up somewhat, and until the court case opens on August 11 I don’t think we’ll hear much more.

        One thing I have studiously tried to avoid is speculation; I wanted to present facts that were known and are provable rather than add my own conjecture. Much of what you will read on the ICBrum forums is conjecture; no one bar Carson knows what is going on properly. I could (and am considering) blog a purely speculative piece with some scenarios of what might happen but I am conscious of the scaremongering accusations made against people who have.

        • Billy Blue says:

          Fair play almajir, and I totally understand where you are coming from with regards to what you write. I also feel quite sure that you are aware of much more than you put into print.

          There is, as you say, innate dangers in writing a speculative blog, but as some have done on the BM forum (and taken accusational hits), it seems the only way to get at least some of the real facts discussed in the public arena. I’m full of admiration towards certain people posting on the BM forum, and their fact based posts and research – they do not seem to be the average message board posting anti Carson rant types. There will always be some supporters who will agree or disagree with certain aspects raised, who are prepared to hand out flak and vitriol if a discussion doesn’t meet with their own perspective – but that will always be the case.

          Almajir, you have a great blog, with a decent number of followers, and it is only through investigative and genuine people such as yourself, that issues can be aired. I haven’t the time, knowledge or skill, to be able to research, let alone be able to put over that research in a way everyone could understand. The BM posters seem to have that skill and patience, just as you do, without whom most, if not all, supporters would be completely in the dark. Carson’s financials are indeed complex, but some seem professional enough to have at least managed to get below the first veneer. There are probably many more veneers, but at least some are trying to uncover as much as they can.

          If you did decide to write a speculative blog, I’m sure you may get accusations thrown, but I am equally certain that you would receive a lot of sensible support in discussing those speculations in a responsible way, based on facts and knowledge, from those who actually have much greater knowledge than I will ever possess.

          Good luck if you decide to write that blog, but many thanks anyway for the effort you put in with your current blogs – I’m certain it is a very useful resource for many, in order they can be kept up to speed with everying happening at Blues.

          KRO

          • almajir says:

            Thanks for your kind words. I must say, erudite comments such as yours have been make the blog better.

          • Billy Blue says:

            Cheers almajar. Pleased to see you have amended wording in the penultimate paragraph. You can’t be too careful, given the current situation. KRO

  • Bombay Blue says:

    I have worked in Russia, China, India and the Gulf since 1994. CY appears to use the same “financial engineering” tactics that many businessmen have employed in these regions. It is not uncommon in the USA or Europe. The fact that millions of pounds are processed through a bank account does not necessarily lead to tax evasion or money laundering. It is where the profit is made and then declared. In the mid 90’s if you sold to chinese companies as I did you dealt with middlemen in Hong Kong, not the end customer. The coverage of this incident is highly speculative and shameless with the UK press looking to make a headline. It may be that CY has acted illegally time will tell. However, this article is well balanced and tries to inform rather than scaremonger. Keep up the good work KRO

  • Kenny Burns says:

    All of the financial information about CY that has been discovered and is available has been written and talked about by the media, local and nationally. The national media seem to have made up their minds already and don’t really give a hoot apart from they want CY sent down. The people at the Brum Mail obviously dont have any investigative journalists or are really arsed to do anything other than what is announced on the stock exchange or in Chinese newspapers. However, they have done no less than the nationals from what I can see. I too am not sure who they could have ‘prevented’ this mess happening. The police were investigating CY back to 2001 and have only got this far now! To be honest I’m not sure how much ‘digging’ any news organisation can do because there are just brick walls up. The HK and Chinese media can’t get to the bottom of CY. Almajir’s stuff is good but it’s hardly Woodward and Bernstein, and that is no disrespect to him.

  • Bluenose John says:

    Thanks for putting this together. It took more time and patience than I possess!

  • Midelton says:

    Information about Birmingham International Holdingss can be obtained from from this site
    http://www.irasia.com/listco/hk/birminghamint/index.htm
    The crisis at Blues started the moment Yeung took over the club.In the first place he payed too much for BCFC and secondly he did not have the finance needed to run a Premiership cluib.Blues fans were told by the local media that he was a ‘biillionaire’ and this was accepted without question.Anyone familiar with business in Hong Kong knew this was bullshit but the local media went along for the ride.If they had started asking questions earlier maybe Blues would not be in such a sorry mess.I have lost count of the times Tom Ross as one example of the Birmingham media has defended the board-happy to toady to Pannu et al.Those fans who think that things will simply work out at St Andrews should consider this-earlier in the year Birmingham International Holdings announced to the Hong Kong stock exchange that liabilities exceeded assets by over 350 million Hong Kong dollars.By March Yeung had raised less than 50 million to alleviate the problem.Do the maths.You do not need to be an investigative journalist to know that BCFC are well and truly in the shit.

    • almajir says:

      Midelton – I assume this is why there has been mass redundancies, players sold for a pittance and serious talk of administration?

      The thing is, we MAY be in the shit but no one truly knows if we are, and if we are in the shit how deep the shit is. The link you have provided just gives very basic detail, what BIH have to provide to the HKSE and is merely a first point for reading on matters relating to BIH.

      Unfortunately for us, no matter how much “local media” or for that matter anyone digs into stuff about Carson, it’s going to be very difficult to find out anything for a fact – and if we’re truly in the the shit we won’t know for a fact until it’s too late.

  • Midelton says:

    almajir-We do know that Blues have severe financial problems-as you rightly point out players are being sold,the Head of Commercial Operations resigned this week and it is well known that those who run the Premier League were glad Blues were relegated-they did not want to have to deal with a club in such financial difficulty-now if Birmingham were to go into administration it is a problem for the Football league administrators.The shares in Birmingham International Holdings have been suspended -why? well I would imagine those holding shares would want to get rid of them as fast as possible while they still have some value.Another problem for Birmingham is that clubs know about the financial situation so clubs will want transfer fees paid up front-they cannot rely on Blues being able to meet payments in six months time.This is why the manager now has to focus his attention on free transwer players.The root of the problem is not really Carson Yeung but the system which allows people to buy football clubs without any real examination of their finances.I know the Premier League have a ‘fit and proper persons’ criteria but we all know that is a joke.The real losers in all of this are the fans and let’s face it Blues fans deserve much better than the likes of Carson Yeung.

    • almajir says:

      I think you misunderstood my sarcasm.

      Blues are in the shit financially already because of relegation. Relegation cost the club £24million in Sky money – before the reductions in monies for advertising, corporate stuff, etc. Yet despite this, have we folded and accepted crap bids for our players? Have we not been playing hardball?

      As for the PL thing; that’s journo talk. In May 2011, CFO Roger Lloyd went to the FA, and went through a standard application for a European licence. This was granted without a problem. Carson’s arrest may have changed feelings re him personally by the PL, but until he’s convicted he’s an innocent man.

      The shares have been suspended in BIH at the company’s request. I think it’s to kill some of the volatility in connection with Carson’s arrest; to protect investments by major shareholders and to ensure that the movement of shares is one less worry on the company’s mind.

      If you want to blame someone for dropping us in the shit, Alex McLeish got us relegated, despite upping wages to something like 90 odd percent of turnover and spending a fair whack on transfer fees. One point in the last six games condemned us. Have a word with him first, I reckon.

  • […] I discussed on this post, it’s thought Carson made the bulk of his money via his investment in the “Greek […]

  • Poppa999 says:

    It would appear other shareholders of BIH are also millionaires (if not Billionaires), no doubt they are not stupid people and will have a vested interest in the outcome of this venture. They would have checked CY out before they got into bed with him.

    Let us hope Peter Punnu stays loyal to the club.


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