Quebec's security regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has filed 23 charges in an insider trading investigation into Montreal-based Amaya Inc's $4.9billion (U.S.) 2014 acquisition of Oldford Group Ltd., the owner of PokerStars in 2014.
In a statement, he said all the charges are false and he will vigorously contest them. Things fell back to Earth when, after only a few blissful months, the AMF showed up at Amaya's door on December 10, 2014, waving a search warrant alongside RCMP and provincial police officers. "While I am deeply disappointed with the AMF's decision, I am highly confident I will be found innocent of all charges", Baazov said in a statement. The announcement dropped the share price of Amaya by 18 percent on that day, and share prices have been on a downward trend since November 2015.
Sababa Consulting inc. and 2374879 Ontario inc. are facing a total of three charges for trading while in possession of privileged information.
Skepticism soon followed the rising stock, prompting a formal investigation by the AMF.
"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", said Louis Morisset, AMF chief executive said.
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"As noted earlier, Amaya conducted an extensive internal review..." Amaya went on to say it did not anticipate the charges would have any impact on the management or day-to-day affairs of the operating business. This review was looked over thoroughly and no evidence was found that any violations had taken place in regards to Canadian securities laws or regulations.
That might not necessarily be up to Amaya, especially in New Jersey.
The online gambling company didn't identify Baazov's allies by name but its executive VP for corporate development is Marlon Goldstein, who is also Amaya's general counsel.
The transaction turned Amaya into the biggest online gambling company in the world.
Whether the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), where PokerStars just this week launched its full site to a welcoming player reception of high traffic, agrees with that assessment, remains to be seen.