David Baazov Trial Date Set8 months ago
The beleaguered founder of PokerStars owners Amaya – David Baazov – has had a date set for his alleged insider trading trial, with the former industry behemoth expected to hear evidence from over 50 witnesses, including an anonymous informant starting on November 20th.
Baazov has been accused by the AMF (the Quebec based Autorité des marchés financiers) of ‘aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya securities and communicating privileged information’.
The charges followed an investigation by the AMF into Montreal-based Amaya’s acquisition of PokerStars owner Oldford Group Ltd. in 2014. At that time Baazov – who has plead not guilty to all charges - was Amaya’s chief executive officer, although he has since resigned as CEO and abandoned several plans to take the company private.
In a hearing on motions last December, the court heard that Baazov ‘allegedly used a front to disguise trades in Amaya stock’ ahead of its $4.9-billion (U.S.) takeover bid for PokerStars.
The one-time golden boy of the PokerStars takeover’s apparent fall from grace has been well-documented on these pages, but he and the others may still avoid the November trial if a deal can be struck with the authorities.
If not, any trial ‘would last an estimated 13 weeks’, according to lawyers involved in the case says The Globe and Mail.com, who add that:
"The AMF has said it plans to call some 50 witnesses, including a dozen who do not reside in Canada and who may be allowed to testify via video conference.”
Quebec’s laws state that the defendants – both individual and companies – ‘do not have the right to a trial in English because these are penal proceedings under provisions of Quebec’s securities act’, says the Globe’s Nicholas van Praet although lawyers expect most of the trial to nevertheless be held in English.
All the defendants have plead not guilty so far and face stiff fines as well as possible prison terms if they are found guilty.
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