Investment bank threatens Blues sale

Last month, Seymour Pierce, the company chaired by Keith Harris,

sued to recover the fee it said it was owed for laying the

groundwork for Carson Yeung’s takeover of the club. The company won

a court order requiring Yeung to pay by Monday, but as the money

was not received Seymour Pierce can now gain a charge of the shares

held by Yeung’s company, Birmingham International Holdings.

“Seymour Pierce can take a charge over the shares of Birmingham

City and do what they need to do with them to recover the money it

is owed, so that means they could potentially sell them to another

owner,” Seymour Pierce spokesman Neil Bennett said on Sky Sports

News. Seymour Pierce had advised Yeung prior to the takeover of

Birmingham, but Yeung then appointed a different company to

complete the deal. However, Seymour Pierce successfully argued its

contract remained valid and it was owed the money. Bennett

explained: “Seymour Pierce advised Carson Yeung and his company,

which was then called Grandtop and is now called Birmingham

International Holdings, a Hong Kong company, and they advised them

on the takeover of Birmingham City and they were due to pay Seymour

Pierce a success fee for £2.2million. “They didn’t pay it.

Seymour Pierce has gone to court , and won the High Court case. The

Hong Kong company was given 14 days to pay the money. “That expired

on Monday. They haven’t paid so in effect they are in contempt of

court and Seymour Pierce has taken the necessary steps to

effectively take control of Birmingham City to recover the debt.

“It is very regrettable, very regrettable indeed, that Seymour

Pierce has had to go to these lengths to get the fee but a contract

is a contract and Seymour Pierce needs to be paid for its work.”

Bennett added that Seymour Pierce had done all it could to recover

the money prior to taking legal action. “There have been very

lengthy contacts both with Carson Yeung and his legal advisors, but

it’s sort of past the point of contact,” he said. “The money was

due to be paid on Monday. They haven’t paid it. They’re in contempt

of court. It’s a serious issue.” The club now faces an uncertain

future as Seymour Pierce could put it up for sale in order to

recover its money, unless Yeung pays up. Bennett added: “Everything

that Seymour Pierce has done, everything that Keith Harris as

chairman has done, in football has been both to promote the

industry and protect the interest of fans, so Seymour Pierce will

do everything it could to ensure Birmingham City is looked after,

but at the end of the day it is owed a significant amount of money

and will do everything it can to recover it.” Birmingham are yet to

comment, but a statement issued by Birmingham International

Holdings said they intended to appeal. “The company is seeking

leave from the Court of Appeal to appeal this decision and there

will be an announcement as and when appropriate,” the statement

said. However, Bennett sounded sceptical about their chances of

success. “They’re on fairly thin ice,” he said. “They were refused

leave to appeal by the High Court, so to actually appeal they have

to first of all get permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal,

so that’s a fairly convoluted process. “Whether they’re given that

permission or not, the money was due to be paid by court order on

Monday, they failed to pay it so they are now in contempt, so

Seymour Pierce can take a number of measures to recover the money

they’re owed.” A hearing is now due on May 27 when Seymour Pierce

could formally take control of the club. However, Bennett said

there was still time for Yeung to solve the problem. “This can be

resolved very quickly by Carson Yeung and his company sending their

cheque for two and a half million pounds to Seymour Pierce,” he

said. “Otherwise the process will proceed rather remorsefully, and

during the summer break there could be a change of owner at

Birmingham City which I don’t think would be in anyone’s