QUEBEC SECURITIES HEARING ON AMAYA TRANSACTIONS WEIGHS EVIDENCE (Update)
But AMF investigator admits under cross-examination that he does not know what was said in relevant phone calls.
In Montreal, a preliminary hearing by the LAutorite des marches financiers (AMF), Quebecs securities regulator, considered evidence on allegations that 12 people improperly used access to privileged information about impending acquisitions by the Amaya online gambling group to reap nearly $1.5 million in questionable profit over five years.
Among the allegations was a case related to the acquisition of the Rational Group several years ago by David Baazovs Amaya group.
Baazov, who has been implicated in the case, remains a major shareholder of the company although he has stepped down as CEO pending the outcome of the AMF investigations. He has steadfastly denied improper conduct or wrongdoing.
Mondays independent tribunal hearing saw AMF lead investigator Xavier Saint-Pierre facing some intense cross-examination by defense lawyers regarding the content of phone calls relevant to the allegations.
CTV News reports that Saint-Pierre admitted that there was no direct proof that privileged information was shared in phone calls preceding several Amaya acquisitions.
The investigator said that he does not know exactly what was said in a series of calls among officials working for the online gaming company or between family members in relation to the acquisitions of Cryptologic Inc., Chartwell Technology and WMS Industries by Scientific Games.
In some cases he couldnt be sure calls even went through.
However, Saint-Pierre said the parties also communicated through texts and emails, and that there is circumstantial evidence suggesting there was a transmission of privileged information.
The tribunal was furnished with an AMF report containing a list of emails, text messages and phone calls, along with trading activity among the accused parties, upon which the regulator bases its allegations.
CTV News emphasises that no charges have been laid against the 12 individuals. However, several bank and trading accounts have been frozen since March while the AMF continues to investigate.
David Baazov is not subject to cease trading orders, but the AMF has alleged that Baazov and his brother Josh benefited from a kickback scheme in which payments were received in exchange for sharing privileged information.
Saint-Pierre said the investigation has not found any related cheques paid to David Baazov but continues to evaluate the lengthy bank records.
Baazov faces criminal charges before the Quebec Court, including influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya and communicating privileged information.
He was charged as part of an investigation by the AMF that resulted in 23 charges against three people and three companies.