Could Legal Blunder Keep Former Amaya CEO David Baazov Out of Jail?

Could a Legal Blunder Keep Former PokerStars Chief David Baazov Out of Jail?

May 25th, 2018 by Jon Sofen

David Baazov may have just had an OJ Simpson tight-fitting glove moment that could lead to his freedom. The former Amaya CEO facing insider trading charges related to his company’s 2014 purchase of PokerStars, could have his case dismissed thanks to a major legal blunder by the Autorité des marchés financiers​ (AMF), Quebec’s securities regulator. If the defense team gets their way.

David Baazov trial Amaya

Former Amaya CEO David Baazov may have caught a lucky break, a legal fumble by the AMF, that could get him off on charges of insider trading. (Image: theglobeandmail.com)

Fall from Grace

In 2014, Amaya Inc, the company Baazov founded that is now The Stars Group purchased PokerStars for $4.9 billion. The acquisition made Amaya the world’s largest internet poker business.

Life appeared to be great for the young CEO who Forbes dubbed the “King of Online Gambling.” The business he founded had become a global internet gambling giant.

But in 2016, he became the subject of what authorities consider the largest case of insider trading in Canada’s history. He is accused of sharing private information with investors prior to Amaya’s purchase of PokerStars, which was used to buy up stock in the company months before the stock price spiked. It’s illegal for a business to share with investors private information that could affect the stock price.

Following a lengthy investigation, Baazov was charged with five insider trading-related charges and booted from the company he founded. He was initially scheduled to be tried in late 2017 but the trial start date was changed multiple times.

“Abusive Procedure”

Six weeks into the trial against Baazov and two co-defendants in a Quebec court, their lawyers are arguing that the case should be stayed due to “abusive procedure” after the AMF mistakenly shared 320,000 prosecution documents with the defense and now are asking for them back.

On May 15, the AMF’s lawyers sent an email to Baazov’s team requesting that they return documents containing “privileged” information.

The defense is claiming the request is absurd, and now is seeking to have the case thrown out due to “repeated errors committed by the AMF” and are asking the court to end what it calls “abusive proceedings.”

According to the defense motion, “Denying access to the defendants of such evidence in the middle of an ongoing trial violates their fundamental constitutional rights.”

Attorneys argue that the AMF’s “repeated errors” should be grounds for putting an end to these “abusive proceedings.”

Quebec court Judge Salvatore Mascia will consider the defense’s latest motion at a hearing next Thursday.

If successful, Baazov may have caught a lucky break that could lead to charges being dropped. Twice in the past, Baazov’s attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to get the case dismissed.

5 Responses to “Could a Legal Blunder Keep Former PokerStars Chief David Baazov Out of Jail?”

  1. Poker Orifice says:

    P.O.S.

  2. RidersFan says:

    It seems like every time you hear something about this case it’s how the AMF messed up again. They seem to be doing everything they can to get this case dismissed. Can a securities agency really be that inept?

  3. cwdignus says:

    when I started to know poker I saw a lot of relation with the stock exchange and both businesses require a lot of trickery, poker was invented by a great rascal and the leaders of the business could not be different

  4. CRStals says:

    This type of article always leaves me on the fence about our legal system, and I’ll admit I’m not sure the differences between Quebec procedure and Ontario procedure. I have never studied law beyond grade 11, and my only experience with court was as a potential juror – thankfully the accused struck a deal to plead guilty at a lesser charge.

    On the side of Baazov, if there is procedure set forth for how trials are conducted, and those procedures are breached and not adhered to, then the entire process is not fair to the defendant who is presumed innocent before proven guilty. If the AMF sent thousands of documents to them that contained privileged information, that’s on the AMF and they have to own that.

    HOWEVER

    I also believe that if you are in fact guilty of a crime, a legal loophole should not allow you to walk free. The case shouldn’t be thrown out – it needs to start anew, possibly with a new prosecution team and evidence brought forth into public view and discussed. An error exposing documents would only be news if it fact it helps Baazov’s case.

  5. Matiiarg99 says:

    esperemos todo se solucione para bien!

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