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Former Amaya CEO and others plead not guilty to securities charges

Charges follow investigation into allegations of insider trading, Quebec’s securities regulator said


 

MONTREAL — The former head of online gaming company Amaya, two associates and three companies have pleaded not guilty to several securities-related charges following an investigation into allegations of insider trading, Quebec’s securities regulator said Monday.

David Baazov, 35, was charged in March with five offences, including aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya and communicating privileged information.

He was charged following an investigation by the Autorite des marches financiers that resulted in 23 charges against three people — Baazov, Yoel Altman and Benjamin Ahdoot — and three companies: Diocles Capital Inc., Sababa Consulting Inc. and 2374879 Ontario Inc.

The accused all formally pleaded in writing in the last couple of weeks, said AMF spokesman Sylvain Theberge.

He said the case will soon be forwarded to Quebec court for the selection of a judge and setting trial dates.

Baazov, who took an indefinite paid leave of absence as CEO and chairman of Amaya (TSX:AYA) after he was charged, has from the outset said the allegations were false.

Ahdoot and Altman are facing four and six charges respectively, including for trading while in possession of privileged information and influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya securities.

Diocles Capital is facing five charges of trading while in possession of privileged information and influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya securities. Sababa Consulting Inc. and 2374879 Ontario Inc. are facing a total of three charges for trading while in possession of privileged information.

The charges stem from the alleged use of privileged information when trading company shares between December 2013 and the June 2014 announcement of a US$4.9-billion deal to acquire the Oldford Group. That deal included the acquisition of gambling website PokerStars.

The penalty for insider trading is $5,000 to $5 million per charge plus up to five years in prison, said Theberge.


 
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