Amaya CEO took leave of absence

After being charged with insider trading activities, David Baazov is taking some time off.

Canada.-  David Baazov, CEO and Chair of Amaya, is taking a leave of absence after Quebec’s Financial Securities Regulator charged him and more than a dozen other people with manipulating stock prices over the last five years.

Although Baazov will remain on the company’s board of directors, his role as CEO will be taken over by Rafi Ashkenazi, who also is the current CEO of Rational Group, the subsidiary that operates PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. In the meantime, Divyesh (Dave) Gadhia is taking over as interim Chair of the board.

According to documents issued by the AMF, Baazov leaked inside information to his brother and other friends, allowing them to illicitly earn CAD1.5 million (US$1,139,200.) The documents include information of alleged insider trading activities connected to seven transactions starting in 2011, which involved 13 other people, including Baazov’s brother Josh. Two reports of the probes released by an independent administrative tribunal associated with the AMF, stated that the profits from these transactions range from CAD200 (US$151) to CAD155,839 (US$118,361.) Furthermore, an amount over CAD800,000 (US$607,596) was allegedly made from trades related to Amaya’s (TSX:AYA) US$4.9 billion purchase in 2014 of the Oldford Group, PokerStars and Full Tilt poker’s parent company.  Isam Mansour allegedly made CAD500,000 (US$379,739) by buying and then selling shares in companies associated with the Amaya deals and Craig Levett, Josh Baazov’s business partner and friend, his wife and brother, also made more than CAD500,000 (US$379,739.)

Baazov made a bid to take over the company earlier this month and it appears he still intends to do so. The CEO has denied the allegations and claims to be confident he will be found innocent of all charges. None of the allegations have yet been proven.