Amaya Gaming CEO Takes ‘Indefinite Leave’
Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov is taking a voluntary, and indefinite, leave of absence from his position in the wake of his recent legal troubles, according to a press release from the company.
Baazov, 35, is facing a number of insider trading charges related to Amaya Gaming’s multi-billion dollar acquisition of the Rational Group, owners of Full Tilt Poker, in 2014.
According to Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the Quebec financial regulatory authority, Baazov was providing privileged information to his brother and other cronies before it was available to the general public. In one instance, those cronies allegegedly all walked away with more than $100,000 because of Baazov’s information.
Sharing privileged information that isn’t available to the public is a cardinal sin for publicly traded companies and that’s why the AMF has stepped in. Earlier this month they hit Baazov with 23 counts of financial fraud. These are very serious charges that could, potentially, land Baazov in prison.
Not surprisingly, Baazov’s legal troubles have not been sitting well with Amaya Gaming’s shareholders. Amaya Gaming shares took a major hit when news of the insider trading scandal hit, but bounced back a bit when Baazov announced his leave.
In a personal statement on the issue Baazov said:
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.
While Baazov fights the law, his position will be temporarily filled by Rational Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi. Baazov will continue to draw his salary throughout his leave.