David Baazov pleads not guilty to insider trading charges

Unsurprisingly after his comments that the charges being filed against him were simply “false”, former CEO of Amaya Gaming David Baazov has now officially pleaded not guilty to the Autorité des marchés financiers’ (AMF) insider trading accusations.

In total, Baazov is facing five charges each carrying a $5 million maximum fine. If convicted he could also face up to five years behind bars.

Along with Baazov who is accused of “aiding trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya and communicating privileged information”, two of his associates as well as three companies are also being hit with related charges - and are all pleading not guilty.

The report issued by Quebec’s financial regulatory body also goes on to list Amaya’s massive $4.9 billion takeover of Rational Group (former parent company of both PokerStars and Full Tilt) back in 2014 as the main focus of its investigation.

In wake of the charges against him – which were actually filed within hours of PokerStars’ re-entry into New Jersey - Baazov has taken an indefinite leave of absence from his CEO position at Amaya, which has seen its share price plummet off the back of the accusations.

The company could also suffer as a result of the charges against Baazov where its bid to re-open operations in California is concerned. 

As although the Californian online poker assembly bill passed through its committee vote last week, tribal decision makers in the state have been very uneasy about doing business with PokerStars since its run in with the federal government in the midst of Black Friday, and cited the charges as a serious cause for concern during the meeting. ­

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