Beating the Odds, Paul Phua, David Baazov Still Flying High

June 3rd, 2015 | by Greg Shaun
Paul Phua David Baazov beat the odds

With the help of a great criminal defense team for Phua and a new Nasdaq trading insignia for Baazov’s Amaya, two seeming underdogs are still on top. (Image: mcelderlaw.com)

Paul Phua and David Baazov are proof that if you never let the naysayers get you down, you can sometimes beat them at their own game.

Of course, it helps if you have arguably the world’s best defense attorney and/or run a company that encompasses the world’s largest online poker network, but we digress.

Bye Bye Phua

It’s been almost a year since FBI officials arrested Paul Phua and cronies in their villas at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip on suspicions of running an illegal World Cup sports betting ring.

In July of 2014, investigators disabled Internet to the villas and entered the residences posing as computer technician repairmen while wearing portable surveillance cameras.

The evidence, which was later determined to have been obtained without a proper search warrant, was highly controversial in nature. After months of going back and forth,US District Judge for Nevada Andrew Gordon ruled that the footage wasn’t admissible in court.

“Permitting the government to create the need for the occupant to invite a third party into his or her home would effectively allow the government to conduct warrantless searches of the vast majority of residents and hotel rooms in America,” Judge Gordon wrote in his ruling.

Though the search captured what looked like Phua and associates allegedly accepting illegal bets from the villas, the matter in which the evidence was collected ultimately made it void regardless.

Also alleged to have ties with the 14K Triad, an organized crime network like the mob based in Hong Kong, Phua is worth millions and is well-known in high-stakes poker circles as a high roller. Now he’s free to return to his home country on his $48 million private jet, a notion defense attorney David Chesnoff, the go-to lawyer for celebrities and the mega-rich, says reinstated Phua’s belief in the American court system.

“Mr. Phua’s courageous and principled stand helps to ensure personal liberty for all of us,” Chesnoff said in lawyer speak. “He had faith in the integrity of the federal court, and we are gratified that he can go home to his family.”

Amaya Brass Investigated

Ever since Amaya stock skyrocketed amidst rumors the company was acquiring the world’s two largest online poker networks, PokerStars and Full Tilt, investigators have been probing to see whether anyone related to the $4.9 billion sale participated in any possible insider trading.

Headquartered in Quebec, Canadian financial market regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) was the first to inquire regarding the trading leading up to the public announcement. Last December, AMF officials seized documents and communications from executives and employees, as well as communications with outside investors and businesses.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an American corporation dedicated to investor protection, also launched its own investigation in April. And while Phua’s yearlong case has basically come to a close, Amaya’s seems to be just getting started.

This week AMF said in a news release, “The investigation involves employees of Amaya, including David Baazov, chief executive officer of the corporation, and Daniel Sebag, chief financial officer of the corporation.” However, the AMF added that no legal proceedings against Amaya or any individuals had been initiated.

The fact that Nasdaq recently accepted Amaya to trade on its exchange could signal the company did no wrongdoing, as the stock market heavily investigates potential listings before inclusion. But as we should all know by now, Wall Street doesn’t always play by the rules.

One Comment

  1. Daniel Deilgat says:

    I saw this article on G+ the day after I posted my doubts about the true ownership of Pokerstars and the role Baazof is playing and,frankly, I would have never thought of comparing Phua to Baazof or vice versa.

    First, the AMF while it is located in Canada, is a provincial regulator that is totally independent from the federal government. In Canada we don’t have a federal regulator like the SEC in the United States.

    Otherwise known as securities commissions, the various provincial boutiques here in Canada- as well as the SEC in the United States, do not investigate principals of any given companies wanting to list on any exchanges. They, instead, rely on declarations, statements and sworn affidavits.

    While prospect companies are required to answer rigorous requirements, securities commissions and the SEC rely on application fees as well as various filling fees to pay rent and employees. Spending millions upon millions on investigations is simply non existent.

    So, That puts any CEOs of any company under the same umbrella as Paul Phua, innocent until proven guilty. We do not investigate people that are presumed innocent and securities commissions do not investigate CEOs just because.

    In a sense I guess that Phua and Baazov are on equal footing, being innocent and all until proven guilty. Phua however was never proven innocent, in fact nothing was proven. The FBI made a mistake and Phua might have dodged a huge bullet…

    On the other hand you have Amaya’s CEO whom still doesn’t know what to defend against let alone plead innocence, but he’ll do that anyway.

    Baazov is in a totally different game than Phua was in. Nobody is trying to stop Phua’s business from becoming legit, they wanted to put Phua in jail. On the Amaya/Pokerstars front its a different story.

    Any allegations brought into criminal proceedings against Baazov and Amaya’s CFO will wreck havoc on Pokerstars’ chances to obtain licences in the United States.

    The Spector of the Bad Actor clause is an attack clause that many of Pokerstars’ enemies can use. Lets not forget- as I have reminded Daniel Negreanu, the purchase of Pokerstars was quarterbacked and paid for by wealthy Republicans and the former politicians that worked for them. Both in Quebec- the Liberals, and in the United States- the Democrats, the left to centre parties are in power and in both countries elections are looming.
    A lot of money was dispensed by Pokerstars to right of centre politicians like the Republicans in the states and the Conservatives in Canada- which are still hanging on to power by a thread.

    In short, there are very many politicians that are offended by all the money they didn’t get to help Pokerstars and they are more than willing and able to sacrifice Baazov in order to have Pokerstars’ investors burry them with cash to save Pokerstars…

    So what I meant in my last post was that Baazov is expandable, and the fact that he is makes him not the owner of Pokerstars but rather the babysitter.

    There is a bus coming down the street and Baazov is crossing the street holding Pokerstars by the hand, who do you think the bus is angling for?

    Phua is an unsophisticated entrepreneur with enough money to think that he can beat anything and anyone, Baazov on the other hand is a sophisticated business man that understands that he doesn’t have a big enough pot yet to piss in.

    In Baazov’s case, Pokerstars comes up loosing big time regardless if any charges are brought against Baazov, already Pokerstars investors are scrambling to make things right.

    That’s code for they’re bribing politicians left, right and centre, literally.

    But Phua is on a roll and Baazov might need a job one day, so yes, brilliant Pokersites!

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