Gaming giant Amaya has said it expects its Chairman & CEO David Baazov to be ‘fully exonerated’ after the Quebec securities regulatory authority (AMF) charged him with a number of trading violations as part of a long-running investigation.
The AMF has charged Baazov 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, but has made no allegation of wrongdoing by Amaya or any of its subsidiaries or other directors or officers.
Also charged are Benjamin Ahdoot and Yoel Altman, who are facing four and six charges respectively, in particular for trading while in possession of privileged information and influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya.
On a corporate level, Diocles Capital inc. is facing five charges of trading while in possession of privileged information and influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya . Sababa Consulting inc and 2374879 Ontario inc are facing a total of three charges for trading while in possession of privileged information.
Based on the AMF’s investigation, the respondents are alleged in particular to have used, between December 2013 and June 2014, privileged information pertaining to the securities of Amaya inc. for trading purposes. As well, a few of the respondents are alleged to have conspired to commit some of the offences.
AMF President and CEO Louis Morisset: “We have made suppressing illegal insider trading and market manipulation a top priority, as this type of conduct profoundly affects public confidence and the integrity of our markets.”
However in a statement, Amaya said: “Mr. Baazov denies the allegations against him, and Amaya believes they are without merit and expects Mr. Baazov will be fully exonerated.”
Amaya said that it does not anticipate the charges will have any impact on the management or day-to-day affairs of the operating business. Perhaps mroe importantly it said it will continue to communicate with its regulators and ‘does not currently anticipate’ any material negative impact on its current or potential licenses, approvals or partnerships as a result of the allegations against Mr. Baazov.
Dave Gadhia, Amaya’s Lead Director and independent board member, said: “David Baazov has the full support of the independent members of the board. As noted previously, Amaya conducted an external internal review, supervised by its independent board members with the assistance of external legal counsel from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Canada and Greenberg Traurig LLP in the U.S., which thoroughly reviewed the relevant internal activities surrounding the Oldford Group acquisition.
“This review found no evidence of any violations of Canadian securities laws or regulations. The independent members of the board received and reviewed the information and concluded that no action should be taken. We have not been provided with any new information upon which the AMF’s allegations of infractions are based.”
The company added that it continues to cooperate with the AMF and has done so since the AMF first began its investigation in 2014, which is consistent with company practice. Amaya previously provided the AMF with a large amount of publicly accessible information related to in the time period leading up to the transaction, specifically the period the AMF is investigating.