Amaya Inc. has said that the publication of documents relating to possible insider trading by its employees represents “nothing new” and that it remains confident that no one in the company is guilty of violating Canadian securities laws.
On Wednesday a Quebec court lifted a ban on the publication of the several search warrants and affidavits, which revealed that three Amaya employees, whose names have been redacted in the documents, are under investigation by the financial regulator.
The trio had computers and electronic storage devices confiscated by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) during a raid on Amaya’s Montreal headquarters last December.
The raid was part of an investigation into suspicious stock trading in the month leading up to the company’s $4.9 billion acquisition of the Oldford Group, the parent company of Rational Group and PokerStars.
“No Evidence of Violations”
“We have thoroughly reviewed the relevant internal activities around its acquisition of Oldford Group and have found no evidence of any violation of Canadian securities laws or regulations including tipping and insider trading by CEO David Baazov and CFO Daniel Sebag,” said Ben Soave, a member of Amaya’s Compliance Committee and an advisor to the Board of Directors since 2012.
“Additionally, the company has not been provided with any evidence that any executives, directors, or employees violated any securities laws or regulations.”
Amaya’s stock rose sharply in the month leading up to the acquisition, and rumors of a buy-out were swirling long before the official announcement was made, leading many to wonder whether something was going on behind the scenes.
On May 23, a full three weeks before the acquisition, Stockhouse.com reported the rumors, with the commentator stating “someone I know high up at a major brokerage firm mentioned this to me the other day.”
Two days earlier Amaya’s share prices had risen by 14 percent in 24 hours.
According to the newly published documents 20 individuals had initially fallen under suspicion, some of whom were Amaya employees, while others worked for Manulife Securities Inc and Canaccord Genuity Corp, both of which facilitated the deal between Amaya and the Oldford Group.
It is believed the AMF launched its investigation after being contacted by two whistle-blowers at Manulife.
“The AMF investigation has not resulted in any proceedings and no charges have been filed,” said the company in an official statement. “The company is confident that at the end of the investigation the AMF will come to the same conclusion as Amaya has; that if there were violations of Canadian securities laws, they were not committed by the Company, officers or directors.”
Amaya has said it anticipated an investigation and has been cooperating fully with investigators.