Baazov Attorney Demands Release of Insider Trading Details

Posted on: December 16, 2016, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: December 16, 2016, 03:34h.

Baazov Lawyer Wants More Disclosure from AMF
Despite releasing one million documents in relation to David Baazov’s insider trading charges, the AMF is being tight-lipped on the case. This is jeopardizing his right to a fair trial, says his lawyer, who wants the judge to advocate for more disclosure from the agency. (Image: QMI Agency/ tvanouvelles.ca)

The lawyer for former Amaya boss David Baazov urged the Quebec securities regulator, AMF, this week to reveal more details of its case against their client.

Sophie Melchers, of Norton Rose Fulbright, representing Baazov, said the AMF had failed to lay out the “factual basis” for charges against her client and complained it still refuses to disclose specific details, which could ultimately harm her client’s right to a fair trial.

Melchers complained that the regulator had submitted more than one million documents to the court, but a lack of detail about how these documents specifically related to the case are making it impossible to build a defense.

Baazov Allegedly Used “Front” to Disguise Illegal Trades

The AMF, for example, has accused Baazov of using a “front” to disguise alleged illegal insider stock trades in the build up to Amaya’s 4.9 billion takeover of PokerStars. Melchers wants the judge to order the AMF to name this front.

“He’s being accused of trading via a front that’s not identified, with sums owned by an entity that’s not identified, on dates that are not identified,” Melchers. “All those ingredients, we don’t know them.

“Today, nine months after charges were laid, it’s clear that the AMF’s evidence is incomplete,” she added. “We don’t know the scope of what we should still expect.”

Melchers believes there needs to be full disclosure of exact dates alleged actions occurred, rather than mere date ranges, as well as more specific information on the actual illegal stock trades Baazov is said to have abetted.

“Kickbacks for Tips”

Baazov, who last month launched a $6.7 billion bid to acquire Amaya and take the firm private, was charged in March with five counts of securities fraud relating to illegal stock market trading dating back to 2012.

The AMF accuses him of being the tip of an information-sharing pyramid that allowed a close circle of family, friends and business acquaintances to profit from illegal stock trades in the lead up to several industry takeovers, including Amaya’s of PokerStars.

The agency says the so-called pyramid was a sophisticated operation in which the higher level operators took kickbacks for tips on forthcoming mergers and acquisitions.

Baazov denies all charges and Melchers has previously said the AMF’s case was filled with “omission and flaws” and based on “selective information.”

While, cross-examining an AMF agent, Xavier Saint-Pierre, she goaded her subject into admitting that the case against her client was “purely circumstantial.” However, if found guilty, Baazov could potentially face up to five years in prison.