As the insider trading trial of former Amaya CEO David Baazov progresses, further details relating to the charges against him are coming forward.
One of the key points recently revealed is that Baazov allegedly used a front to carry out trades ahead of Amaya’s merger bid for Rational Group, the former owner of PokerStars, the world’s leading online poker site.
Baazov’s lawyer Sophie Melchers referred to this allegation made by Quebec’s securities regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) but stated that despite over a million items being submitted as evidence by the regulator, there were no concrete details available of the alleged trades by Baazov that would allow the preparation of appropriate defence.
In a statement, Melchers said
He’s being accused of trading via a front that’s not identified, with sums owned by an entity that’s not identified, on dates that are not identified. All those ingredients, we don’t know them. Today, nine months after charges were laid, it’s clear that the AMF’s evidence is incomplete. We don’t know the scope of what we should still expect.
She highlighted that such withholding of information was unlike other insider trading cases in Canada where all details were clearly laid out, adding that much of the charges against her client were mere copy-pasting of the applicable infractions.
Melchers asked that the front company be named by the AMF. She has also asked for information to be made available on the dates of the deals, the aliases used and all facts relating to the actual trades. According to her, by remaining vague the AMF was leaving the door open for testing theories and changing strategies based on information gathered by questioning dozens of witnesses during the trial.
The AMF filed charges of insider trading against Baazov in March this year accusing him of leaking confidential information to enable illegal trades and influencing the price of Amaya’s stock. He has since stepped down as the company’s CEO and also put in a $4 billion bid to take over PokerStars.
A number of close accomplices of Baazov have also been charged in related cases including Benjamin Ahdoot, a childhood friend of Baazov and three trading companies Sababa Consulting Inc., Diocles Capital Inc and 2374879 Ontario Inc. All those charged have submitted pleas of not guilty.
According to Melchers, the AMF released information so far in two separate sets – one in July and the next one in November. She said she had intimation of two more waves of information that is expected to be released in the future.