Canadian authorities launched an investigation towards end of December 2014 into the $4.9 billion Amaya Inc acquisition of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands. Back in 2014, Canadian based Amaya Inc surprised the poker world in a surprise takeover of PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world and the popular Full Tilt Poker.
David Baazov, the CEO of Amaya Inc was instrumental in putting the deal together but later came under a cloud of suspicion as the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) which is the securities regulator in Quebec accused Baazov of insider trading.
The investigation continued for well over a year as Canadian Mountain Police and the AMF conducted raid at Amaya Inc’s Montreal office seizing a lot of material that they believed could give them evidence into the alleged insider trading. Suspicions were raised over the acquisition due to the fact that Amaya Inc’s share prices almost doubled before the acquisition could be announced and would later climb by an additional thirty percent after the deal was made public.
This week the AMF decided to file five charges of insider trading against David Baazov alleging that he broke the law between December 2013 and June 2014. The charges include sharing privileged information about the acquisition, attempting to influence and influencing the market price of Amaya Inc’s shares and assisting trading while in possession of confidential information.
The AMF has also confirmed that it has filed additional charges against Sababa Consulting Inc, Benjamin Ahdoot, Diocles Capital Inc and Yoel Altman. AMF has also carried out a number of search warrants and stopped the trading rights of thirteen individuals who are alleged to have played a role in insider trading.
The charges would not have surprised David Baazov or the Amaya Inc board as they would have been prepared for such an outcome. Baazov immediately released a statement to deny these charges and state that he will fight these allegations in court. He went on to say that he remains confident that he will be found innocent on all five charges and see that they are dropped.
The Amaya Inc board also threw their support behind Baazov by releasing a statement which said “We have not been provided with any new information upon which the AMF’s allegations of infractions are based. David Baazov has the full support of the independent members of the board.”