Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov has been hit with 23 charges of insider trading relating to his company’s blockbuster $4.9 billion acquisition of the Rationale Group.

The charges were laid by the government of Quebec and, if found guilty, Baazov could be facing stiff fines and a even a stint in prison.

Baazov’s troubles stem from the results of a recent investigation by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the Quebec equivalent of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  The AMF was investigating claims that Baazov, and other Amaya Gaming insiders, used privileged information about the Rationale Group acquisition for profit, before that information was available to the general public.

The AMF investigation also resulted in similar charges for one of Baazov’s closest friend and business advisors, Benjamin Ahdoot.

In a statement to the press, Baazov vigorously defended his innocence saying:

These allegations are false and I intend to vigorously contest these accusations. While I am deeply disappointed with the AMF’s decision, I am highly confident I will be found innocent of all charges.

In a separate statement, Amaya Gaming’s Board of Directors expressed its support for Baazov. The Board was a bit more robust in its defense and went so far as to call the charges, “absurd.” They went on to say that their internal investigations found no signs of wrongdoing during the Rationale Group deal.

One groups that wasn’t particularly impressed by Baazov and the Board’s declaration, the financial world was highly unimpressed. By the end of trading on the day the charges were announced, Amaya Gaming shares had fallen 20% on worldwide exchanges.


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