Football: Birmingham owners contact Hong Kong police over missing funds - report

LONDON (AFP) - The company that owns second-tier English football club Birmingham City said Monday a former employee may have "misappropriated" £2.5 million (S$5 million) and that they had contacted Hong Kong police over the matter, the BBC reported.

Birmingham International Holdings Limited released a statement Monday saying the gap in their accounts "may have a material impact on the operation and financial situation of the Group".

Last week, British newspapers reported that England's Football League were probing Birmingham officials over the continuing influence of the club's former owner Carson Yeung, who is languishing in a Hong Kong prison for money laundering.

Yeung, 54, was jailed for six years in March last year.

Football League rules prevent any person convicted for a crime related to dishonesty from being a director or owning more than 30 per cent of a club.

Yeung currently holds 27.9 per cent of BIHL, according to the company's filing.

Charged in June 2011, two years after buying the team, Yeung has appealed against his conviction.

He remains the largest shareholder in the club, according to the Hong Kong stock exchange website, despite resigning from all positions at its holding company before the trial verdict.

Birmingham City - relegated from the elite Premier League in 2011, three months after winning the English League Cup - have been in talks with potential bidders over the past few years.

Little known before his emergence in English football, former hairdresser Yeung took control of Birmingham City in October 2009 in an £81 million takeover from David Sullivan and David Gold, now the co-owners of Premier League club West Ham United.