Canadian based Amaya Gaming was relatively unknown until it decided to acquire the Rational Group which is the parent company of PokerStars, the biggest online poker website and Full Tilt Poker, one of the most popular poker websites in the world. The acquisition was successfully completed for an estimated $4.9 billion in June 2014 and Amaya Gaming became a global brand overnight.
The Autorité des Marches Financiers (AMF), which is the Quebec securities regulator raided Amaya Gaming’s Montreal head quarters back in December 2014 as news broke of possible insider trading before the Rational Group acquisition. Amaya Gaming’s shares were affected but the company maintained that no insider trading occurred.
A US-based self-regulatory body called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently announced that they have launched an investigation targeting a close friend of Amaya Gaming’s CEO David Baazov. The friend in question is Yoel Altman who works is an accountant by profession and described by Amaya Gaming as a “long-term strategic adviser.”
Altman has used his funds and connections in the past to invest into a number of IT companies, most notably providing Amaya Gaming with a $5 million bridge loan that helped Amaya Gaming complete the acquisition of software provider Cryptologic back in 2012. As of now the authorities have not been able to furnish any evidence of insider trading but they have no plans to quit anytime soon.