Often Partisan

The Carson Trial – Adjournments and Confiscations

The court case against Carson Yeung is now in full swing with the court due back in session on Thursday for the fourth day of hearings. With this in mind I thought I’d try to put together some information to aid understanding of what is to come. As ever, please bear in mind I have no legal training personally, but have relied upon people who are experienced in HK law to help guide me.

Whilst tomorrow sees day four of the hearings, it’s already been over a week since the trial began and I think there has been some disgruntlement at the amount of time the trial is taking already. Unfortunately, adjournments are part and parcel of a criminal trial for a number of reasons and I fear any hopes people may have had of a swift conclusion are forlorn ones.

The case is due to be heard over a period of 25 days – however, this isn’t 25 consecutive days but 25 days in court. These can be spread over a number of weeks as adjournments become necessary and are granted by the judge; furthermore it’s not uncommon for cases to overrun and this one certainly could due to the nature and complexity of the case despite the best efforts of the prosecution and defence counsels not to allow that to happen.

Adjournments can be for a variety of reasons; for example, the court wasn’t sitting last Wednesday as it was a bank holiday in HK. It won’t be in session on Friday as Carson has been allowed time off to attend the AGM as it was considered important that he address shareholders of BIH there. There have also been adjournments to allow the judge and/or prosecution/defence counsels to read some of the voluminous information that has been submitted on behalf of both the prosecution and the defence; as an example, the defence expert witness has submitted a 124 page report. John Reading SC for the prosecution has already advised that they will need three extra weeks to go through the defence report, something that Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong isn’t happy about either.

Thus I think it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of imagination that the cases for the defence and prosecution won’t be completed until the end of June, maybe July. Once that is completed, the judge will need some time to deliberate and come to a decision on whether he thinks Carson is guilty or not. This won’t be quick either as the judge will need to go through all the evidence supplied and the arguments put forwards by the defence and prosecution. Again, it wouldn’t be extraordinary if the time taken to come up with a verdict was in the one to two months timescale which would place the timing of a verdict potentially around September, possibly even October (courts rarely meet in HK in August). I’m of the belief having spoken to various people within the legal profession in Hong Kong that it would be almost impossible for Carson’s trial to be concluded by the start of the new season.

The key question is – does this affect the sale of the club? Thankfully, the answer to that would appear to be no. If Carson was convicted then he would automatically fail the “owners and directors test” and would be forced by the Football League to step down from his position at BCFC and BIH (as the two entities are so closely intertwined) and to sell his stake in the holding company. Whilst a conviction may see Carson’s shares in the holding company confiscated (if the judiciary can prove they are the result of money laundering, which is in my view highly likely as they are named in the charge order), that would take a lot of legal wrangling and a lot of time – maybe as much as a year.

However, there is scope to allow for the order to be changed to allow the sale of the shares to be completed and the proceeds to be confiscated instead. Likewise, prior to a conviction Carson can apply to the court to have the charge order varied to allow him to sell his stake and have the proceeds frozen instead – which would likely be granted as it would ensure that the asset retained maximum value.

Does this make the court case irrelevant? Maybe. It means that we don’t have to wait for the outcome for the club to be sold and even if Carson is found guilty, the sale of the club needn’t be held up any more than it already has been. However, I suspect that there may be a twist in the tail yetas already it’s been alleged that the original purchase of 29.9% of the club back in 2007 was partially funded by money from the bank accounts in question. How that affects things I honestly don’t know but I will be looking to find out in the coming weeks.

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48 Responses to “The Carson Trial – Adjournments and Confiscations”

  • crother88 says:

    starting to think poor old carson is a little fish in a lake full of pike

  • crother88 says:

    why have i been scrubbed surely i can have a opinion i used to climb the corrugated fencing when i was a kid with a 50foot drop to see my beloved blues and it was worth it fond times risked my life and that was worth it aswell

    • almajir says:

      Hi

      Sometimes comments get held for moderation by the system. If that is the case then you have to wait for me to fix it and as your comment was in the early hours of the am I wasn’t about…

    • Sir Harry 1875 says:

      Hardly something to boast about. You cant have loved Blues that much if you didnt pay pay to watch them.

      • prewarblue says:

        Ah m,Lord the good old days,,,,,,Bomb threats at Orient,,,,,trusting “Witton” firemen to put out the fire when the stadium was hit [ never thought firemen were thick but find it difficult to believe even now,,,,,that one couldnt tell the difference between petrol and water ], being so trusting as going into a pub called “The Magpies” in Newcastle [opposite the ground] wearing ones colours and expecting a warm welcome [ certainly was warm after the rapid departure back to the coach station !! lol ],,,,,,yes things have changed over the years,,,,,razor wire instead of the old broken bottles on the wall set in cement,,,,,stainless steel toilets instead of the old brick walls held up by the disinfectant,,,,,oh and the payment part ?,,,,,,who paid if some one was small enough to be lifted over a turnstile,,,,,,the main thing was,,,,,,you were there watching your team,,,,right or wrong

  • bazabllue says:

    sureley as BIH UK this is a british reg co therefore it is abe to continue buying selling or whatever and may be sold as a seperate entity…..I fai to see why they(he) is hanging on to us,if he is found not guilty then his co shares will nosedive anyway,if found guilty we woud be al he has and though he could use a puppet owner hed be broke! I think hes hanging on to us in case guity and he and his famiy would use us a ittle nest egg here…wind up the uk arm and open a chinese in brum|…judging by our bankers over here hed be classed as an asset to the UK given residency and an arsenal ST….as they have revoked his passport he wasnt planning to fee to japan was lhe….but of course the other scenario is that hes not guilty gets an influx of backers and ploughs money into his beoved blues……………………………….mmmmmmmm

    • almajir says:

      BIH isn’t a British registered company – it’s a Hong Kong listed company registered in the Cayman Islands

  • bazabllue says:

    sorry my keyboard keeps eaving out letters hence the spellings

  • Steve-0 says:

    One thing is for sure; things are going to be very different for Blues after this trial.

  • Pedant says:

    Are you sure that failing the “owners and directors test” means that Carson.has to sell his stake in BIH? I didn’t think that was the case, and the only sanction I can see described in Section 2 is that he is removed as a director. http://www.football-league.co.uk/regulations/20110629/appendix-4_2293633_2128219. The definition of a director is wide enough to ensure he can’t have any control over the club, but I can’t see anything about him being forced to sell shares. I’d be very happy to be wrong though.

    • KeeprightCroydON says:

      Pedant, that’s an interesting point. (Note I have not read the info on your link, so am happy to take you interpretation on face value.)

      It opens up another scenario. If he’s disqualified as a director, but can still own a stake in the club, he’ll most likely still wield influence through the other directors who he will have appointed. And if he does get off the hook, and he has a few bob to spare after unfreezing of assets, I wonder if he would be allowed to provide funding as a shareholder who is not a director – that’s assuming he’d still wish to do so of course.

    • almajir says:

      As far as I’m aware the league would also force him to relinquish any control of the club. Any person who owns over 10% shares in a football club must take the owners and directors test, and if he’s convicted he can’t pass it – so therefore it would logically follow that he would be forced to sell those shares to take him back below that 10% threshold.

      • zxcv says:

        I think your wrong Dan, Even if he owned say15% that rule would only come into play if he stood for a directorship, ie he wouldn`t even be allowed to stand.

        • almajir says:

          So why is it called owners and directors test then, and why is it applied to people who own more than 10% of the club?

          • zxcv says:

            Dan, He is not an owner is he. He is a share holder and no one (except the courts) can force him to sell anything he ownes.

          • almajir says:

            Again, I think you miss the point. I will repeat for you.

            the owners and directors test is applied to anyone who owns more than 10% of a club.

            Carson owns more than 10% of the club. He’s not just tested cos he’s a director, he’s tested cos he’s an owner. If he fails it, he can no longer be a director OR own more than 10% in the club.

            They can’t force him to sell the shares, BUT they can deny the club a place in the league whilst he owns the shares – for example, see Portsmouth whereby the football league said that they would only allow the Supporters Trust to take on the “golden share” and keep Portsmouth in the league.

  • Godsavetheblues says:

    Anybody know where the judge lives? And what’s his favourite tipple?

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    I sincerely hope that Liu Xingcheng makes it very clear to other shareholders at the AGM, that with CY still ostensibly in control, this could have a detrimental affect on the value of the company due to his legal wrangles, and if he is found guilty, it could become even more complex and messy than present.

    CY may have an ace up his sleeve with the recent Board appointments – they may announce fresh investment – and something of this nature or talks of a possible sale, might be the only points that ‘save’ him and PP at BIH. They can try and control what is happening within the organisation but what happens in the courts, is out of their power.

    Nobody can really say what the outcomes might be, but if there is a power struggle going on, I think we can accept that CY’s association with our club should come to an end.

  • chris says:

    Almajir, are the half year accounts for BCFC (not BIH) ending Dec 2012 due on 1st June or have they already been released?

    • almajir says:

      I don’t believe BCFC are required to release interim accounts; I’ve certainly not seen any for previous seasons.

  • zxcv says:

    He cannot be classed as an owner with 10%. WHY do you think he only wanted a 26% share in the first place as any more than that means he would be forced to take control of BCFC. He is not a owner.

    • almajir says:

      It appears I may have been incorrect about the 10% thing. Under Premier League rules, anyone who owns a 10% share or more must have their information made available to the PL – this was where I first heard of Liu Xingcheng. I apologise for getting that wrong – I assumed something incorrectly.

      However…

      http://www.football-league.co.uk/staticFiles/0/8c/0,,10794~166912,00.pdf

      The regs do allow them some leeway – the League are very cute about this.

      For example, if there is a 25% shareholder and they are someone in accordance with whose instructions the Board of the Club are “accustomed to act” they still qualify as a Club Director and have to submit to the Test.

      Think about the way the club is run, and the amount of control Carson exercises despite his shareholding. Even if he steps down as a director, I think the league would have issues. The league are deliberately vague about how they exercise their control over this – the reason being it allows them to act with their own discretion rather than hard and fast applied rules. I would expect that even if Carson stepped down as director that the league would want massive assurances that he had no control over the club whatsoever (for example, I suspect they’d force out Ryan as director too) and I think they would corner him in such a way that he would have to walk away.

      My understanding from my friends at Portsmouth was the information supplied to the FL by the Trust there etc allowed the league to ask increasingly stricter questions about Chainrai which eventually forced him out – despite him not failing the conditions set out in the FAQs. I’m certain that a conviction in Carson’s case would force him to sell the club.

      • zxcv says:

        Dan, It will indeed be very interesting to see just what extent the FL will go to get shut of this man,but even they must act within the Law of the land and not just there own rules as any court of law will overrule them if indeed CY has broken no laws or rules of the Stock Exchange. ie the FA do not make the law`s of this land.

      • Pedant says:

        Yes they have to submit to the test, but the only sanction to be applied if they fail the test is that they resign as director. As zxcv says the Football League have squiddlypot power to order who owns what, ownership of property is a fundamental right under the UN charter.

        Even the courts only confiscate property as a last resort, if CY is found guilty, he will be invited to pay the courts an assessed amount to cover the proceeds of crime. Only if he fails to pay will property be confiscated.

        • almajir says:

          You’re right, they cannot force people to sell shares.

          However, they do have the right to withdraw the so-called “golden share” from any club which allows them to compete, which is exactly what they would do. If the golden share was withdrawn, you could own 10%, 25%, 100% or 0% – the club wouldn’t be allowed to play. That’s the ultimate sanction, and that’s what the league can do.

          • Pedant says:

            Yes but any attempt to withdraw the golden share because of ownerhsip of shares would almosr certainly fail a legal challenge.

          • almajir says:

            Would it?

            ARe you 100% sure of that?

            Again, I refer you to Portsmouth, and what they did in the light of the bid from Harris/Hutchins/Najadi. They point blank told them that the only bid they would accept was from the ST and that they would refuse them the golden share.

            I agree that there would be legal challenges and what not – but that is always going to happen in this sort of instance. The fact remains that if Carson gets sent down his continued ownership of this football club would be untenable.

          • Pedant says:

            There’s no reply button to your post below, So I’m replying here. I’m no lawyer but it was discussed before the Thai bloke sold Man City. The PL could find him not fit and proper, but it was most unlikely they could force him to sell.

            The Portsmouth situation was different in that the parties didn’t own the club, I don’t know what would happen if they had gone ahead and bought it, apart from a legal mess.But the threat was enough to back down.

            I.m not a lawyer, but have a background in contracts, the Football League rule is a fine example of many legal clauses, you won’t do this or that. Oh what happens if I do that? Not much we can do about it but we’d like you not to do it.

          • almajir says:

            They forced out Chainrai who did own it. They told him he couldn’t buy it back from administration as he wouldn’t pass the test.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    I would pay good money to see (and understand) Liu Xincheng shake things up at that board meeting.

  • Tony says:

    Very interesting diference of opinion between Dan and zxcy Fascinating to learn who is correct in interpretation.

  • Tony says:

    Whats all this about Admin tweeted by the lad we were to sign? Whats going on?.

    • prewarblue says:

      the lad has retracted the tweets,,,,,the club has made a statement to the local rag,,,,,,and by the sound of it the lad has had his wrist slapped

      • skareggae72 says:

        I’m guessing he wont be joining us now after this ‘incident’ & its a bit worrying where this story actually came from,must be some serious talk of admin in the background somewhere.

        • chas says:

          Doing what most fans do , Reggae, I am going to take a guess that he has been turned down by Blues and was trying to limit his embarressment in a private convesation with a ‘Mate’ who immediately spouted the rubbish to all and sundry..

          N.B. All of my post is made up conjecture on my part, as I know nowt about any of the goings on at Stans..

  • darren says:

    Hi i all

    i think the best we can all do now is boycott the club so the money runs out quicker and we go into administration, that is the only way out of this mess, al hinted at this last week, we have buyers but the legal mess is too much to unentangle.

    next yr we will be fighting relegation again, lets stop giving them money and bring forward the administration and get our club back.

    i know this is extreme, i have been a season ticket holder for 10 yrs now but i think we are fighting against the inevitable

    • zxcv says:

      Darren, with an opinion like that, i sometimes doubt that everyone is entitled to one but ha,ho.

  • Paul Carter says:

    Sad to say Darren but the last thing a fan ever does when his club is in trouble is walk away.

    That’s part of our problem. Half empty stands.

    The exact opposite of your post applies. Fill the ground week in week out bring more money into the club and look far more attractive to investors.

  • darren says:

    paul i did share the same view as yourself until recently when the penny dropped and believe me this is the last resort.

    i dont think it is possible to sell the club legally and i think from a chinese cultural perspective they wont sell, so the only way out i see is administration. if they are found guilty they will appeal and this trial will run for many years, until we are sucked dry and prob in the 2nd division, every pound we give them would only delays the inevitable. sometimes u have to be cruel to be kind.

    i wish i was wrong, but the last few years have been heart breaking, watching the club fall apart, and i dont want the heartbreak to continue.

    wish i was wrong and i will be the first to eat humbe pie.

    • terryms says:

      You have made one key point which Almijar has missed and that is that even after the lengthy case there will most likely be an appeal if the verdict is guilty. This might add another month or so to the whole process !!

      • almajir says:

        Month?

        No mate, appeals could add another two years to the whole court case. However, I don’t think that would matter. Briatore was forced to step down from QPR after the F1 thing cos of the rules although he won his case eventually on appeal.

        • prewarblue says:

          Dan ,I seem to remember a case of money laundering a couple of months back concerning an old woman,,,,,,,less money was involved [ think it was about £8m ] ,she got 8 years in a mainland prison,,,,,but had appealed the conviction,,,,,any chance you can find out what the outcome was,,,,,just to give some idea of the length of this farce will continue,,,,,appeals included i think its going to be about another 18 months-2 years before we are finally shut of them and start afresh with new hope [until the next oppertunity to have a good moan,,,,,,you cant be a Blues fan with nothing to moan about,,,,,,it aint natural !! ]

  • bluenoserob says:

    if any money raised from the sale of the club goes to the HK government , what incentive has CY got in keeping value in the club in the mean time , it wont matter to him if the club is in DIV one and only worth 5m quid cos he wont see any of it. Im finding this very worrying……can anyone tell me im wrong so i can stop worrying.

  • bcfcjayv says:

    I believe selling bcfc is not of any importance to yeung and pannu until the trial is over. For months we have been told pannu is looking for investors and i cannot believe mr pannu has been in any rush to sort any deal out. He maybe in HK to try and find investment but the obvious real reason is to support carson yeung with his trial. The main thing for us fans to do is forget carson yeung and support the team. A fresh new season will be here before we know it and clark and the team whoever it may be need our full support. we were loyal and proud before he stepped his dirty shoes in the door and we will be still the same when hes gone (however long that may be) !!!keep right on til the end!!!


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