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Former PokerStars Boss Allegedly Made Illegal Campaign Contribution To New York Governor

FBI: New York Lobbyist Solicited Illegal Donation From Baazov

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Former Amaya CEO David Baazov is currently awaiting trial in Canada over alleged insider trading, and now he faces accusations of misconduct in New York over a $25,000 campaign contribution to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

BuffloNews.com reports that the government alleges that lobbyist G. Steven Pigeon solicited an illegal foreign campaign contribution to the 2014 re-election campaign of Cuomo. Baazov, who was called the “king of online gambling” by Forbes after his takeover of PokerStars, allegedly is the source of the $25,000 contribution.

A third man, Amaya lawyer Marlon Goldstein, was the person to actually make the contribution, according to campaign finance records.

New York has been considering online poker regulation for several years. A bill recently moved out of committee and to the Senate for consideration. Cuomo hasn’t made his position on online poker known, though he did help push casino expansion in the state.

Baazov hasn’t been charged over the campaign contribution, according to the report. A hearing on the charges against Pigeon is scheduled for next month. Pigeon is accused of bribery and extortion in separate cases that the feds are pursuing.

The government alleges that from 2010 to 2015 Pigeon received $388,000 in lobbying fees from Amaya. Pigeon said that he followed all election laws in soliciting the donation.

Amaya purchased PokerStars, the top card playing platform in the world in terms of players and revenue, for $4.9 billion in 2014.

Despite selling about $100 million worth of his stake in the company earlier this year, Baazov still owns 12 percent of the online gaming giant.

In an earnings call last week, Amaya, which controls some 70 percent of the worldwide online poker market, announced that it will be changing its name to The Stars Group.