Industry Reports

Amaya’s Former CEO David Baazov at the Center of Share-Rigging Case

Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), known to be the security regulator of the Canadian province of Quebec, submitted a new court filing prior to the insider trading trial against Amaya Gaming’s ex-CEO David Baazov and his two other associates. According to AMF’s allegations, David Baazov and his two other accomplices charged with insider trading tried to rig the price of Amaya Inc. (recently re-branded into The Stars Group) ahead of the $4.9-billion deal for the acquisition of Rational Group, owner of the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands.

David Baazov’s name has appeared under the media firestorm once again after it became clear that Quebec securities regulator submitted its filing to the court, revealing that Mr. Baazov and two other associates allegedly tried to artificially inflate Amaya’s price in an attempt to recognize a higher financial profit. According to the allegations, the former Chief Executive Officer of Amaya along with Toronto financier Yoel Altman and Benjamin Ahdoot, Mr. Baazov’s old friend and then-Vice-President of government projects at Amaya, tried to manipulate the price of the online gambling company ahead of Amaya’s acquisition of the Rational Group in 2014. AMF officials believe that the three allies intentionally bought stocks in the company, being aware of privileged confidential information regarding Amaya’s securities.

In other words, AMF claims that Mr. Baazov and his two accomplices allegedly traded Amaya stock while in possession of confidential information before the Canadian operator purchased Rational Group for the record price of C$4.9 billion. Similar allegations are contained in the first version of AMF’s trial book from 15th May 2017. However, all the allegations and charges against Mr. Baazov and his two other respondents remain unproven in court.

Here, it is interesting to note that Amaya’s price per share had been dramatically fluctuating since the Canadian gambling giant announced its plans to take over Rational Group and assume control over PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. According to the regulator, Mr. Baazov actively participated in the price rigging scheme, aiming at artificially inflating Amaya’s market price per share.

In 2016, the three individuals together with three other companies, including Diocles Capital Inc., Sababa Consulting Inc. and 2374879 Ontario Inc. were charged with insider trading. The respondents pleaded not guilty and even asked the court to dismiss the case as it violated their rights to timely justice.

David Baazov Reportedly Involved in Embezzlement from Charity

Mere days ago, it emerged on the surface that Kenya’s charity organization Lion’s Heart Self Help filed legal actions against Baazov and his former executives at Amaya, including Daniel Sebag and Benjamin Ahdoot. According to the legal claim, Mr. Baazov allegedly embezzled approximately $707,000. The charity organization claims that former Amaya Chief Executive promised to donate 25% of its earnings from the Kwachu Mamilli lottery to Lion’s Heart, as the company was allowed to kick off its own operations in Kenya in 2010.

Allegations about Amaya’s fraud Kenyan operations has surfaced in 2012. According to reliable sources, the gambling company tried to dupe the charity organization and pay less than promised to Lion’s Heart. The scandal in relation to Mr. Baazov’s alleged frauds continues to flit in and out the gambling world.