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Gambling Mogul, David Baazov pleads innocence to insider trading charges

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David Baazov, head of many gaming firms including PokerStars and Full Tilt, has vehemently denied breaking Canadian laws. The businessman, who led the take-over of Oldford Group in a deal worth $4.9 billion (AUD6.5 billion) in 2014, has rubbished claims that he aided any trades while in possession of privileged information. This is despite the fact that he has not been shy of singing his own praises, going on to say he has never done anything to jeopardise his business conduct.

The charges are also related to the 6 month period in which his company acquired the Oldford. This is the same company that ran the Rational Group, the parent company of PokerStars which is the biggest online poker room.

According to the sources close to the young entrepreneur, Baazov has taken an indefinite leave of absence so that he can focus on the case. In a statement, Amaya described Baazov’s leave as paid and temporary, saying he would be focusing on his previously announced offer to acquire Amaya.

Image of David Baazov

David Baazov gets Amaya’s backing                                                      

The company in which David Baazov is the CEO, Amaya, said he will still remain as the head amid the charges. This is despite Amaya’s biggest financial backer, Blackstone, having not issued any formal statement or comment of support. The Quebec securities regulators have in the past stormed into Amaya’s offices unannounced as part of the insider trading investigation. The analysts indicated that this visit raised suspicions into Amaya’s trading stock for a few weeks.

It has been rereleased that Quebec’s AMF obtained trade orders against 13 individuals who allegedly traded in different countries with privileged information.  After Baazov decided to take the leave of absence, the board elected to appoint Amaya’s director, Rafi Ashkenazi, as the interim CEO.