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Just two days after the Quebec regulatory authorities, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) filed charges of insider trading against David Baazov (cover image), CEO, Amaya, he has voluntarily stepped down from the company for an indefinite time.
Baazov has said that, “As always, I continue to be dedicated to doing the right thing for Amaya and all its stakeholders.”
“I believe that stepping down in the short term will help to avoid distraction for the company and its management while I vigorously contest all allegations made against me and pursue my bid to acquire the company,” he added.
A press release by Amaya on March 29 stated, Baazov was on a paid leave to “focus on preparing an offer to acquire Amaya and to avoid a distraction for the company while he responds to certain allegations made against him by the AMF.”
The release also said that, while Baazov would remain on the Board of Directors, Divyesh (Dave) Gadhia would function as Interim Chairman and Rafi Ashkenazi as Interim CEO. Both, Gadhia and Ashkenazi have been senior members of the company past few years.
Amaya also informed that Baazov fully intended to go ahead with his plans to take over the company, though the board was yet to receive an official offer. The company also specified that, “The Special Committee has not made a determination as to whether a sale of Amaya is in the best interests of the company at this time. The Special Committee will consider any offer made by Mr. Baazov and any expressions of interests made by third parties if and when any such offers or expressions of interest are made.
Additionally, it was mentioned that, “The Special Committee will also continue its review of alternatives available to Amaya, including continuing to implement its current business plan as a publicly-traded company.”
Baazov is currently facing five counts for “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya inc., and communicating privileged information.”
The AMF report also claims that Baazov’s brother, Josh Baazov, Craig Levett, a mutual friend and porn-baron Feron Antoon had profited to the tune of $1.5 million from privileged information passed on by Baazov.