AMAYA’S EMBATTLED CEO TEMPORARILY STEPS DOWN (Update)
Takes voluntary indefinite paid leave.
Chairman and chief executive officer of Amaya Inc., David Baazov has stepped down temporarily taking an indefinite paid leave of absence in the wake of numerous charges laid against him by the Quebec securities regulatory authority, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).
Baazov will use the time to further developments regarding an offer for the company while also preparing a response to the allegations levied by the AMF.
In light of this development, Divyesh (Dave) Gadhia will assume the role of interim Chairman of Amaya Inc. and Rafi Ashkenazi as interim chief executive officer, the company said in a press statement. Baazov will remain a member of Amaya's board of directors.
In an update relating to the AMF charges against Baazov and numerous others, Amaya said its Board had become aware of additional AMF investigations into Baazov and others’ conduct which were not initially covered in the company’s own independent investigation.
“While none of these allegations have been proven, the Board takes them seriously and has expanded the mandate of the Special Committee to investigate these additional matters,” the statement reads.
In terms of the prospect of an acquisition offer for Amaya by Baazov, the company said “the Special Committee has a broad mandate to consider any proposal that may be made by Mr. Baazov, as well as other alternatives that may become available to Amaya.”
Those other alternatives reportedly include an undisclosed number of interested third parties who the Special Committee says it is in the process of negotiating agreements with in respect to the terms upon which they may have access to confidential information regarding the company.”
Included in the press release was a statement from David Baazov that said: ”As always, I continue to be dedicated to doing the right thing for Amaya and all its stakeholders. 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,” Baazov said in the same company statement.