Who Are Canadian Authorities Targeting in the Amaya Gaming Investigation?


Since the 2014 raid by Canadian authorities on the offices of Amaya Gaming, the owners of PokerStarsand Full Tilt Poker, as well as two investment banks that were allegedly involved in that transaction, there hasn’t been much information released. Earlier this week, however, the Canadian courts changed that by releasing some information that allows people to conclude who was targeted by the raid and what information was being sought.

Toronto Globe and Mail reporter Jacquie McNish reported that, as of earlier this week, the court had lifted a publication ban that had been in place. The approved motion allowed the public to see who and what the warrants that were executed in 2014 were aimed at.

In the case of Amaya Gaming, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), the Canadian government organization responsible for oversight of the financial industry, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) went right for the top.

According to the Canadian newspaper, “AMF seized a variety of computers, e-mail, and phone records” belonging to Amaya Gaming Chief Executive Officer David Baazov (pictured), Chief Financial Officer Daniel Sebag, and a manager whose name was redacted from the official court documents.

At Canaccord Genuity Corporation, a company that advised Amaya Gaming during that 2014 purchase of the PokerStars brand, similar materials that were seized from Amaya were taken from an unnamed senior executive, a broker, and a broker’s assistant. At Manulife Securities, which was not involved with the 2014 deal, it is perhaps more serious, as 15 brokers saw similar seizures.

While there aren’t many names on the court documents, McNish has been able to uncover that Canaccord executives Stuart Raftus, the head of the company’s wealth management unit, and broker Peter Kirby, who has an expertise in gaming-related stock trading, are under scrutiny. Of the 40 Canaccord clients under examination by AMF, most of them were being advised by Kirby.

Court documents list Manulife broker Elie Nassif and Canaccord compliance officer Marvin Zwikler as witnesses. This means the two were pertinent to the investigation in that they provided the information that led to the AMF deciding to launch an investigation into Amaya’s purchase of PokerStars.

The actions of the players inside Amaya Gaming and any advisers that they may have consulted on the case that might be construed as insider trading: that’s the focus of the case.

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