Trial Date Set for Former PokerStars CEO
A Quebec judge has set a November 20 trial date for former PokerStars CEO, David Baazov. Baazov is accused of spearheading an insider trading scheme that involved several of his close associates and millions of dollars.
Quebec Court Judge Claude Leblond informed Baazov of his date with destiny during a hearing on Tuesday.
The trial is not expected to be short and jury members can expect some very complicated arguments to emerge from both the prosecution and defense. Legal analysts with the Canadian daily the Toronto Globe and Mail are predicting the the trial could last as long as 13 weeks.
Baazov got a bit of a preview of the case that Canadian financial regulators at the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) will be pressing against him at Tuesdays hearing and, by the sounds of it, he’s in for a very long haul. Lawyers for the government are expected to call at least 50 witnesses and at least one of those witnesses will be testifying anonymously.
As if defending oneself against these sorts of charges wasn’t complicated enough on its own, Baazov will also be negotiating the challenges of conducting a trial in two languages. Under Canadian law, trials that involve charges laid by the AMF and conducted in Quebec, must also be conducted in French. Judge Leblond said on Tuesday that efforts will be made to assign Baazov a bilingual judge and that some witnesses will be testifying in English with French translation. (It’s unclear whether Baazov himself is fluent in French.)
Some observers have suggested that Baazov might accept some sort of plea deal in the matter but, so far, there is no indication from Baazov himself that that might be the case.