Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Case Against David Baazov Alleges Amaya Stock Price Manipulation Ahead of PokerStars Buy

According to the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), David Baazov and two associates made attempts to pump up the price of Amaya shares as the company prepared for its $4.9 billion takeover of PokerStars. Quebec’s securities regulator made those allegations in a new court filing that included the prosecution’s trial book for the case, which is scheduled to begin on Dec. 11.

The trial book is an outline of the prosecution’s case against Baazov. And while it was made public as a part of the recent court filing, The Globe and Mail reports that the document dates to May 15 of this year. Information in the book includes a brief overview of the evidence the AMF plans to present, as well as an outline of their arguments and the names of witnesses they intend to call.

The crux of their case appears to tie Baazov, the former CEO of Amaya (now The Stars Group), with Benjamin Ahdoot, a childhood friend who served as Amaya’s vice president of government projects, and Toronto financier Yoel Altman.

The AMF says that the trio conspired to buy up stock in Amaya in April and May of 2014 in order to combat a slide in the company’s share price. In addition, regulators say this was done with the insider information that Amaya had already been making progress in its negotiations with the Oldford Group to acquire internet poker giant PokerStars.

In 2014, Amaya was facing financial strain following three years of losses. The company’s stock price was as high as $8.99 a share early in the year, but fell to $5.81 in mid-April following a poor earnings report.

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