When it comes to money laundering, some people will sit up and take notice, but a significant number of people will let the story pass them by without any great interest. This is not to say that money laundering isn’t interesting, it is a hugely fascinating style of crime, but many people just can’t muster up any interest in news stories that aren’t directly related to them. There are many reasons for this, the increasing availability of media and news channels being a strong one, but for whatever reason, big crime stories don’t seem to capture the public’s imagination in the way that they used to.
There are always exceptions to the rule, and this is where sport plays a big part. If a standard news story takes place, a lot of people will not be interested. If this standard news story has a sporting twist or element to it, there is suddenly a national or even global audience that is interested in what is going on. It would be fair to say that the events of the Oscar Pistorius would have made it a powerful story, even if he wasn’t a world famous athlete. However, the fact that Pistorius is so well known around the world and is instantly recognisable has made this a major story.
The importance of sport in capturing the attention of people in the United Kingdom has been highlighted by another big example in recent times. It would be fair to say that a businessman receiving a six year jail sentence in Hong Kong for money laundering wouldn’t really be a prominent story in the United Kingdom. However, when you include the fact that the businessman involved was the owner of a British football team, suddenly the story becomes momentous news with lots of people having an angle or involvement with the story.
Football Rivalries are given an Added Twist
Birmingham City fans will undoubtedly be looking at the story and wondering if there are any implications for their team. Fans of rival clubs like Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion or Wolverhampton Wanderers will be taking the opportunity to poke fun at their rivals. There is also the fact that football fans up and down the country will see this story as being another example of the plight of modern football. Football fans in the United Kingdom may not spend too much time worrying about what happens in Hong Kong courts, but when there is a link to the beautiful game, suddenly everyone takes an interest.
The 54 year old businessman was convicted on a total of five charges relating to a total amount of 720m Hong Kong Dollars passing through his bank accounts for a period between 2001 and 2007. If you are wondering how much this money is, it equates to £55m! You can see that this was not a matter of loose change that was passing through the bank accounts of Mr Yeung. The defence of Carson Yeung fell upon the fact that he managed to earn and accumulate hundreds of millions of dollars through a number of different ventures. There is an argument that when you have money it is easier to make money, and the defence claimed that Mr Yeung raised funds through gambling, stock trading, owning a hair salon and through various businesses he had in China.
While the UK football fan base has been waiting for the case and findings to take place, it is a story that has been closely examined in Hong Kong and by businesses that have an interest in the local area. This is down to the fact that this is one of the biggest cases since Hong Kong introduced tougher laws against money laundering the financing of terrorists.
Given that Mr Yeung and his defence were not able to indicate where close to 100m Hong Kong Dollars had come from (a sum of money close to £8m), the judge felt that there was no option but to come down hard on Mr Yeung. This was clearly sending a message out to people that money laundering is no longer socially acceptable in this part of the world, but it is also indicative of how grand the money laundering activities of Carson Yeung were.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professional for 8 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.