David Baazov Facing More Woes as Kenyan Charity Sues for Embezzlement  

December 1st, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

Ex-Amaya CEO David Baazov could be in for more legal troubles after an African charity moved to sue his former company for allegedly embezzling aid funds.

David Baazov

David Baazov may be in more trouble after a Kenyan charity accused him of embezzling more than $700,000. (Image: forbes.com)

According to a report by Business Daily Africa, Kenyan charity Lion’s Heart Self Help Group has filed a suit against Amaya’s local subsidiary.

Baazov has been named in the court documents alongside Daniel Sebag and Benjamin Ahdoot, and accused of swindling the charity out of almost $710,000.

Amaya Director Joins Lawsuit

Helping Lion’s Heart bring the case to court is the director of Amaya’s Kenyan subsidiary, Kennedy Odhiambo Nyagudi. Fearing that he will be forced to take responsibility for the debt because Baazov is no longer with the company, Nyagudi has joined forces with the charity to fight the case.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the accusation that Amaya reneged on a deal to give 25 percent of the earnings from its Kenyan lotto to Lion’s Heart. As part of the agreement that allowed it to launch the M-Lotto sweepstakes in 2010, Amaya agreed to donate a cut of its revenue to charity.

However, Nyagudi claims that no money was sent to Lion’s Heart because Baazov and his associates secretly opened four bank accounts with NIC.

As described by Nyagudi, only he and Baazov had the power to open bank accounts for Amaya in Kenya, which means NIC was complicit in the alleged scam.

A Tangled Web of Accusations

Prior bringing the suit against Amaya, Lion’s Heart and Nyagudi were granted access to documents from NIC that showed when the accounts were open. With Baazov et al supposedly able to open bank accounts, Nyagudi believes they channeled funds from the lottery out of the country and away from the charity.

Despite Justice Rachael Ngetich ordering the release of the bank documents on October 24, 2017, NIC has requested they be blocked from being used in court.

Additionally, the bank’s legal advisers, Wamae & Allen, are pushing to have the plaintiffs held in contempt of court because they received the documents before NIC could seek legal advice.

While Baazov’s insider trading trial linked to Amaya’s $4.9 billion takeover of PokerStars is currently his main focus, the latest lawsuit clearly won’t help efforts to clear his name. Indeed, even if he can escape the Canadian authority’s advances, he may yet find himself in trouble with the Kenyan legal system.

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