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Quebec Judge Postpones Ex-Amaya CEO David Baazov’s Insider Trading Trial

The insider trading case against David Baazov, former CEO of Canada’s largest online gambling company Amaya (recently rebranded into The Stars Group) has been postponed to give Baazov’s attorneys time to read through more than 4 million pieces of evidence and prepare the defense. Judge Salvatore Mascia of the Court of Quebec, who is overseeing the trial, has approved Baazov’s lawyers request for a delay in the trial. The trial, which was initially scheduled to commence on 26th February, will now start on 16th April.

In late January, provincial court Judge Salvatore Mascia refused to stay the charges against David Baazov. On 17th October last year, Baazov’s attorneys had filed a motion with the Court of Quebec in an attempt to dismiss charges against Baazov. Baazov’s team of lawyers motivated their motion with the so-called Jordan ruling, under which less serious offenses should be wrapped up within 18 months.

As it can be recalled, Baazov’s trial was set to commence on 20th November last year, but the prosecutors failed to move Baazov’s case forward in a timely manner. According to Baazov’s lawyers, prosecutors have started to investigate a hard drive containing 16 million documents on 21st September, giving no time to Baazov’s attorneys to read through all the documents.

Even though Judge Salvatore Mascia refused to dismiss the charges against Baazov, Judge Salvatore Mascia agreed to postpone the trial, giving some extra time to Baazov’s defense team to review the documents. According to reliable sources, the trial will continue for a period of 70 days, spreading over four days a week.

The Long Story in a Nutshell

The investigation started in June 2014 after Amaya took over the privately held Oldford Group, the owner of online poker websites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. In March 2016, Quebec securities regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) charged Baazov and two other defendants with 23 criminal charges of insider trading and market manipulation.

Baazov is accused of “aiding trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya and communicating privileged information”. In wake of the charges against him, Baazov submitted “not guilty” plea. Almost two years after the security regulator of the Canadian province of Quebec filed the charges against Baazov and other defendants, the trial is still stuck in the courtroom.

Supposing that the court finds Baazov guilty of the charges relating to market manipulation and insider trading, it may impose him a fine of up to $5 million and Baazov may spend up to 5 years behind bars. The trial that started in Montreal is the largest of its kind.