March 23, 2016 / 12:48 PM / 2 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Amaya CEO charged with insider trading by Quebec regulator

(Corrects paragraph 10 to say the regulator launched an investigation in 2014, not June)

By Amrutha Gayathri

March 23 (Reuters) - Canadian gambling website operator Amaya Inc’s Chief Executive David Baazov has been charged with insider trading by Quebec’s securities regulator.

The regulator said on Wednesday it had filed five charges against Baazov for “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya Inc, and communicating privileged information.”

Amaya’s U.S.-listed shares fell about 7 percent to $13.26 in premarket trading before they were halted.

“These allegations are false and I intend to vigorously contest these accusations,” Baazov said in a statement.

He said he was “deeply disappointed” with the regulator’s decision and that he was “highly confident” that he would be found innocent of all charges.

Amaya spokesman Eric Hollreiser said the company was reviewing the situation.

The charges come about two months after Amaya said it had received a non-binding proposal from Baazov to take the company private.

Based on Amaya’s basic shares outstanding as of Sept. 30, the proposal had valued the company at about C$2.8 billion, or $2.14 billion based on the current exchange rate.

Baazov said on Wednesday that he had no further comment on his bid to take Amaya private, but added that he was committed to working toward closing the deal.

The regulator launched an investigation into Baazov and other executives in 2014 for trading in Amaya’s stock ahead of the company’s $4.9 billion takeover of PokerStars owner Rational Group in 2014. ($1 = C$1.31) (Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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