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Zheng and Tse have demonstrated that there exists an optimal trade-off between diversity gain and multiplexing gain. To realise the predicted optimal trade-off, we propose a new multiple-input multiple-output transmission scheme for a concatenated coding and space-time (ST) modulation system aimed at applications that require flexible trade-off between performance and data rate. The proposed scheme is multi-layered with linear ST modulation to allow various multiplexing gain. Through a judicious design of the inner ST modulation, the optimisation of spatial multiplexing is made simple. Moreover, a joint iterative receiver based on MMSE criterion with a priori information is developed to reduce computational complexity. Simulation results are provided to demonstrate the merits of the new design.