Amaya CEO’s Brother Identified As Key Trading Insider
Quebec’s securities regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has identified Josh Baazov, the brother of Amaya’s chief executive David Baazov who was charged last week as an individual who played a pivotal role in the Amaya-related insider trading dealings which resulted in illegal profits of $1.5 million.
According to the AMF, David Baazov disclosed confidential information to Josh Baazov who then passed in on to Craig Levett, a mutual acquaintance who is thought to be one of the original shareholders of Amaya.
The securities regulator has detailed several instances of insider trading carried out in this fashion involving seven companies, namely Amaya, Bwin, Intertain Group, Cryptologic, WMS Industries, Chartwell Technology and the Oldford Group.
The insider trading started with Amaya’s 2010 acquisition of Cryptologic, an online gambling technology firm. Documents filed by AMF show telephone calls occurring between Josh and David and subsequently between Josh and Levett. Levett is then recorded to have bought Cryptologic shares multiple times.
In another instance when WMS Industries was being acquired by Scientific Games Corp in 2013 for $1.4 billion, Josh is reported to have obtained access to communications between David and an attorney on the impending acquisition, which he passed on to Levett. Levett and a few other associates including his wife and brother purchased WMS shares for thousands of dollars using this information, resulting in profits of $170,000. Josh thereafter received two checks from Levett for $32,100 which was marked as gifts.
The Levett family has been reported to have made over $500,000 in illegal earnings in the five-year period from similar transactions. In addition to this, they netted a further $800,000 from illegal trading related to Amaya’s $4.9 billion takeover of Oldford Group, which owned PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker websites.
Levett and Josh have been charged along with 11 other individuals by AMF separately from the Amaya insider trading case. They have been accused of earning $1.5 million from disclosing privileged communication related to Amaya’s business dealings.
AMF has additionally charged Feras Antoon, an online porn business mogul of benefitting to the extent of $83,000 from illegal trading using privileged Amaya information. According to the AMF, Josh, Levett and their associates were also preparing to profit from the insider information they possessed on David’s most recent proposal of taking Amaya private.
Despite the serious nature of the insider trading charges levied against him, David has continued to insist that his plan on taking over Amaya is still on. But there is widespread speculation that he might be asked to step away from his role in the company in order to protect the company.