We represented certain individuals in connection with a major insider trading investigation conducted by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (the "AMF") over a four-year period concerning Amaya Inc. (now, The Stars Group Inc.) as well as various other companies in the gaming industry. The AMF devoted exceptional resources to this investigation, and related legal proceedings, and repeatedly disclosed publicly its intention to bring penal and/or administrative charges against our clients and others.
However, due to our vigorous defense of our clients’ interests, and in a result virtually without precedent in these types of securities matters, the AMF ultimately terminated its investigation in June 2019 without laying any administrative or penal charges against them, or pursuing an outstanding claim in connection with an alleged breach by our client of an interim conservatory measure. Upon the termination of the investigation, all freeze and cease trade orders were immediately lifted, and the AMF agreed to return all of our clients’ seized materials and to destroy all copies thereof in its possession.
Throughout the investigation and related proceedings, we successfully defended our clients' rights against the draconian strategies adopted by the AMF, including by:
- successfully opposing the continuation of general freeze and cease-trade orders issued against one of the original targets of the investigation, and having that individual entirely removed from the proceedings very early on in the investigation; with such decision of the Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal (“TMF”) being maintained on appeal by the AMF to the Court of Quebec;
- seeking and obtaining from the Superior Court a search protocol with a view to enabling us to identify and isolate privileged materials seized from our clients;
- challenging the legality and breadth of wide-sweeping and all-encompassing general freeze orders that the AMF regularly seeks and obtains ex parte against targets of its investigations before they are charged or given any opportunity to defend themselves;
- defending a party in connection with an alleged breach of a general freeze order, which, according to the AMF, should be interpreted as preventing such individual from spending even a single dollar while subject thereto; the AMF ultimately discontinuing this action prior to judgment being rendered;
- ensuring that in response to requests for additional interim conservatory measures by the AMF, our clients would have access to all of the information required to defend themselves, notwithstanding the AMF’s position that all aspects of its investigation are private and confidential. In that connection, while the AMF argued against disclosure of any information, we successfully obtained a decision from the TMF ordering the communication of information relevant to our clients’ defense, which decision was upheld by the Superior Court following the AMF’s attempt to have such decision overturned by way of judicial review;
- contesting proceedings by the AMF before the Superior Court to extend the retention of materials seized from our clients;
- identifying numerous improper and/or illegal actions of the AMF in connection with its investigation of our clients, putting the AMF on notice in connection therewith and holding it accountable for such violations; and
- instituting several proceedings against the AMF to protect our clients’ personal and privileged information contained on electronic devices, including cellphones, personal computers and tablets, seized from them, and seeking appropriate redress for the AMF’s failures in that regard, including by way of an action against the AMF seeking to terminate the investigation and obtain damages for its numerous breaches of our clients’ Charter rights to privacy and to be free of unreasonable search and seizure.