UPDATE 1-Amaya reports Quebec securities regulator probe, shares plunge

Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:37am EST
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(Adds share price move, company comment)

TORONTO Dec 12 (Reuters) - Shares in Amaya Gaming Group Inc fell 15 percent on Friday after it disclosed that the company and its officers are cooperating with Quebec securities regulator AMF in an investigation regarding trading activities in Amaya securities.

The Montreal-based company said late on Thursday the probe is related to trading activities in Amaya shares surrounding the corporation's acquisition of Oldford Group earlier in 2014.

Earlier on Thursday Forbes reported that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) raided the Montreal area offices of Amaya. The offices of Canadian investment bank Canaccord Genuity, and a subsidiary of Canadian insurance company Manulife Financial were also raided as part of the probe.

A spokesman for the AMF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this summer, Montreal-based Amaya closed on the $4.9 billion takeover of Oldford Group, operator of online gambling website PokerStars, just as several U.S. states have begun to move on legislation to legalize online gambling.

"We are aware of the actions taken by the AMF and RCMP. We are fully cooperating with this investigation," said Manulife in a statement.

Canaccord was not immediately reachable for comment, but a spokesman of the firm told Forbes on Thursday that it was cooperating with a routine request for information.

Amaya said to its knowledge the probe does not involve any allegations of wrongdoing by the company. It said it will continue to cooperate, if and as requested, consistent with its practice to always cooperate with regulatory authorities.

It said the probe has had no impact on Amaya's business operations, employees or companies.

Shares in Amaya were down C$5.56 to C$29.45 in morning trading in Toronto on Friday. Shares in Canaccord were down 10 percent, while those in Manulife were down 1.4 percent. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and W Simon)