Canada Online Casino Boss to face Court Trial

Former Canada Online Casino Boss David BaazovAn insider trading scandal has escalated once more. David Baazov, former CEO of Canada online casino giant Amaya Gaming, will face the music in a court trial scheduled for later this year.

Baazov, who founded Amaya in 2004 and played an instrumental role in the company’s acquisition of the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars, in 2014, will appear in court on November 20, 2017. Thus was the decision of the Quebec Court’s Judge Jean Claude Leblond at a hearing on Tuesday.

Judge Leblond held a lengthy meeting with both prosecutors and defense teams to discuss the future of Mr. Baazov and two other defendants in the case. Quebec’s securities regulator, Autorite des marches Financiers (AMF), has called this the largest case of insider trading in the history of Canada.

Trial Likely, but Not Guaranteed

The former Canada online casino boss isn’t guaranteed to face a court trial just yet, though. There’s always the possibility that, sometime over the next 10 months, the defense team could come to a settlement agreement with the AMF.

Barring such a settlement, it’s been estimated that the trial will last 13 weeks, due to an abundance of witnesses gathered by the prosecution. The AMF says it intends to call around 50 witnesses to the stand, some who reside in Canada and will appear in person. Those who reside overseas will not be required to appear, but will instead be permitted to testify via video conference.

It’s also been confirmed that the AMF has an anonymous informant who’s slated to testify in the case against Mr. Baazov.

Charges Against Ex Canada Online Casino Boss

According to the AMF, David Baazov, his childhood friend Benjamin Ahdoot, and adviser to Amaya Gaming Yoel Altman, all participated in a calculated scheme to manipulate the company’s prowess on the securities exchange. Baazov has also been charged with veiling his stock trading activity in the month’s prior to Amaya’s acquisition of PokerStars.

The AMF has further accused the former Amaya boss of covertly delivering insider trading information to a number of individuals, including his own brother, who all profited from the stock’s PokerStars-related surge in 2014. Those individuals are said to have used the information, illegally profiting to the tune of $1.5 million.

All three defendants have submitted pleas of ‘not guilty‘. If convicted, each could face steep fines and, should the judge feel particularly merciless, a lengthy prison sentence on top of it.

David Baazov, Then and Now

Historically speaking, David Baazov has never been one to venerate authority. A mathematical savant, his parents kicked him out of the house when he dropped out of high school against their will. His ambition was such that he founded a computer business that was worth millions of dollars by the time he was 21.

He then founded the Canada online casino company, Amaya Gaming, in 2004. Within six years, it was valued at $6 million; a mere fraction of its worth today. At that point, Baazov turned to an acquisitional strategy, buying up a multitude of small businesses before aiming his sights on PokerStars – a move that earned him Forbes recognition as the ‘King of Online Gambling‘.

But heavy is the head that wears the crown, especially when official charges of duplicitous dealings with securities persuaded him to step down from his head position with the Canada online casino company in March of last year. Being incredibly confident, ambitious and – truth be told, a little arrogant – with his power, Baazov will surely continue to fight the accusations to the (potentially bitter) end.

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