David Baazov Never Amaya Majority Shareholder Says Financial Regulator

The Baazov brothers are both feeling the heat from AMF's investigations as the case takes an unexpected turn

According to the latest revelations in the ongoing court case against Amaya CEO David Baazov, the Canadian entrepreneur was merely a puppet at the helm for his older brother Joshua and was never the true majority shareholder of the business.

The claims, which suggest that the real power behind Amaya (now Stars Group) was held by Josh Baazov and his business partner Craig Levett, have been made by the Canadian financial regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) in recently filed court documents. The documents suggest that Baazov and Levett actually owned 75% of the shares in 2007 at a time when David was listed as the sole and total shareholder of Amaya, with David operating as a "nominee" by holding the shares on behalf of his brother and his partner.

Until now the AMF have only accused Josh and Levett with profiting through trading on inside information about potential mergers and acquisitions involving Amaya between 2011-2016. However, there have been numerous speculations over the past couple of years as to the true involvement of Joshua Baazov and Craig Levett in the business. In particular a 2015 report by Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper detailed numerous instances in which Josh claimed to be representing Amaya in discussions with business figures as well as international government officials.


Above: Canadian financial regulator AMF having been building a case against David Baazov for the past two years and are now suggesting that it was his older brother, Joshua, who was the real power behind the multi-billion dollar online gaming behemoth

It would appear now, however, that the AMF are ready to confirm the rumours,with the documents claiming the share arrangement was laid out a decade ago in a “secret agreement", evidence of which has reportedly been found on a mobile phone seized from Joshua Baazov.

The idea that the the older Baazov and Levett were running the show from behind the scenes is certainly not as much of a stretch of the imagination as it may first appear. The pair have something of a history in the online gambling market as prior to the UEIGA in 2006 Baazov and Levett controlled US-facing online sportsbook BetonUSA (an operation with a reputation as a slow/bad payer) and were subsequently associated with Oddsmaker.com, another 'dubious' offshore US-facing sports book.

Furthermore, the fact that Josh Baazov has a criminal record for both possession of cocaine and, more importantly, for telemarketing fraud, would be a solid reason why he would wish to keep his involvement in running a major online gambling operation as hidden as possible.

Of course the Baazov's dispute these claims, with a spokesman for David Baazov responding, “Through prejudicial leaks, false declarations and persistent insinuations, this affair is transformed into interminable fishing. The AMF continues to manage this case in the court of public opinion because it cannot win in court. David never held Amaya shares for anyone other than himself.”


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