David Baazov, former CEO of Amaya Inc. will face charges of insider trading and market manipulation charges in Montreal, Canada.
The man behind one of the most outrageous deals in gambling history, the $4.9bn takeover of Pokerstars in 2014, is to appear in front of prosecutors in a trial brought by Quebec’s security regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) . Monday’s trial is set to be delayed due to a counter-motion from Baazov and five co-accused in a bid to dismiss the case, which they claim was botched.
The charges Baazov is facing include; “communicating privileged market information, aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information,” influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya securities. Baazov’s co-accused include a reported close friend Benjamin Ahdoot, a previous consultant to Amaya Yoel Altman, and three businesses from Ontario connected to Altman. There are 23 charges in total. All defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Following the takeover of Pokerstars in 2014 shares in Amaya rose 50% and it is believed that it is this period that is of most interest to the prosecution. In March 2016 Baazov took a leave of absence from Amaya after facing similar charges. Since then Amaya Inc. has been rebranded to The Stars Group Inc. and relocated from Montreal to Toronto.
Montreal-based AMF have a strong track record when it comes to insider trading. They have prosecuted 15 cases in the past 5 years and have won most of them. The Amaya case is particularly interesting to them due to the amounts of money involved and the number of documents they have managed to seize.