David Baazov Requests Dismissal of Insider Trading Charges10 months ago
Former Amaya CEO David Baazov has asked the Court of Quebec to toss out the insider trading charges levied against him due to delays in the case that have prevented the matter to move forward in a timely fashion.
A pleading filed by Baazov’s attorneys last month cites a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2016 that grants defendants the right to a speedy trial. Known as the Jordan ruling, the order calls for trials of those accused to commence within 18 months from the date charges are filed.
Quebec securities regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) filed almost two dozen counts of insider trading against Baazov and two of his cohorts, Benjamin Ahdoot and Yoel Altman, in March 2016, some 20 months ago. The allegations focused on suspicious increases in share prices of Amaya prior to the company's $4.9 billion purchase of PokerStars in the summer of 2014.
Baazov's trial was set to begin on November 20, but his attorneys cried foul because a hard drive filled with 16 million documents that required review was not given by prosecutors to the defense until September 21, according to the Globe and Mail. The defense attorneys estimate that another six months is needed to analyze the data.
Regulator Criticized By Defense Attorneys
The AMF was pilloried by Baazov's attorneys for the way required evidence was disclosed, calling the regulator's submission practices “piecemeal, disorganized and tardy." The defense team didn't stop there, claiming that the AMF initiated the action against Baazov hastily, "without a significant amount of relevant evidence being gathered, much less analyzed.”
The motion to dismiss is scheduled to be heard on December 11, the same date that Baazov's trial is now scheduled.
Since the Canada Supreme Court justices handed down their Jordan ruling, 204 such cases have been dismissed. It's worth noting that more than 1,500 cases in which the defense requested dismissal based on Jordan were denied.
It's highly unlikely that a case of this magnitude - one of the largest alleged insider trading improprieties in Canada's history - will be tossed out on what some might call a technicality.
Baazov is no longer at the helm of Amaya, having resigned in August 2016. He made efforts to purchase the company, but those endeavors fell short. Amaya subsequently re-branded and are now known as The Stars Group, a name change that included relocation of their headquarters from Montreal to Toronto.
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