Baazov faces charges over PokerStars acquisition

Baazov faces charges over PokerStars acquisition

Thursday, March 24, 2016 Totally Gaming
Baazov is accused of insider trading by Quebec's authorities

Amaya’s share price dropped by a fifth on Wednesday after chief executive and chairman David Baazov was charged over insider trading in connection with the company’s CAN$4.9bn (€3.3bn/$3.7bn) purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in 2014.

Three individuals, including Baazov, and three companies are the subject of 23 charges filed by Quebec's securities regulator.

The charges are the culmination of the largest insider trading investigation in Canadian history. The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) regulator and police have been working with US authorities and others since late 2014 to probe why hundreds of investors bet so heavily on struggling Amaya’s stock ahead of its takeover of PokerStars’ parent company, Rational Group.

The AMF has charged Baazov, currently trying to buy the company, for aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya securities and communicating privileged information. If proven, the charges could carry fines of up to $5m and five years in prison.

Amaya itself, in a statement, said no allegation of wrongdoing by the company or any of its subsidiaries or other directors or officers. It said Baazov “denies the allegations against him,” and said it “expects Mr Baazov will be fully exonerated”.

Amaya added: “The company does not anticipate the charges will have any impact on the management or day-to-day affairs of the operating business. Operations continue as usual and there will be no change to the PokerStars or Full Tilt product offerings, either in customer experience, player fund security or game integrity.”


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