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Amaya’s Former CEO Faces Trial on Fraud Charges

Amaya Inc. founder David Baazov will face yet another trial, as he was accused by an investor in Dubai of using the investor’s name to support the takeover bid for Amaya, which took place in 2016. The news came with another shocking revelation that Kalani Lal, the founder and President of KBC Aldini Capital Limited laid out a legal case against Mr. Baazov in January this year, claiming that Mr. Baazov benefited from his company’s name to give a strong push forward to the takeover bid, in which Mr. Baazov offered to acquire the company he had found himself.

Even though David Baazov stepped down from his leading position in the Canadian gambling company Amaya, his name still seems to be linked with a number of scandals. This Friday, the local news agency La Presse reported that Mr. Lal filed a legal case against Mr. Baazov, accusing him of leading his takeover bid under Lal’s name without having the permission to do so. The trial is expected to take place in November this year.

Mr. Baazov’s intentions to buy and privatize Amaya suffered strong public criticism. This undervalued Amaya’s price per share on the stock market. To boost his takeover bid, Mr. Baazov named KBC as a supporter, even though the company’s President Mr. Lal did not give his approval and denied involvement in the deal. This resulted in the current situation, in which the former Chairman and CEO Mr. Baazov will go to the court once again.

The Quebec securities regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) released the full official report on the case, explaining that KBC’s regular customers are mostly Muslims, whose religion strongly oppose any gambling activities. It was added that KBC will not put at stake its own clientele only to back Mr. Baazov’s interests.

David Baazov’s Previous Deeds

To make it clearer, it is worth to provide certain details regarding Amaya’s takeover bid and Mr. Baazov’s participation in it. In 2016, Mr. Baazov officially announced his takeover proposal to acquire Amaya for C$3.6 billion, or C$24 per common share. The entire deal was estimated to cost around C$6 billion as it included also taking over the company’s debt. In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Baazov announced that he had the support of 4 companies, including KBC Aldini Capital Ltd., which may appear not to be completely true.

Here, it is interesting to note that at that time, Mr. Baazov was facing yet another legal hurdle, as he was investigated by the Québec securities regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers over insider trading activities related to the acquisition of Isle of Man-based Rational Group. Supposing that the lawyers prove Mr. Baazov’s involvement in the aforementioned trading activities, he might be sent to prison for 5 years, besides the sentence he might get for unlawfully benefiting from Mr. Lal’s name.