TORONTO – A former money manager involved in insider tipping of information about Amaya Gaming Group Inc. has agreed to pay a $350,000 penalty and $50,000 in investigation costs as part of a settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission.
Under the conditions of the settlement approved today, former co-chief investment officer and portfolio manager of Aston Hill Asset Management Benedict Cheng is prohibited from trading any securities or derivatives for six years.
Among other things, Cheng is also prohibited from becoming or acting as a director, or officer of any issuer, registrant or investment fund manager for six years as well.
In 2014, Cheng learned about Amaya’s impending acquisition of the parent company of online gambling site PokerStars because funds he managed agreed to participate in the financing for the transaction.
Before the acquisition was publicly announced in June 2014, Cheng informed his Aston Hill subordinate, senior vice president John David Rothstein, and said he could pass on the information to others.
Also as part of the settlement, Cheng has agreed to co-operate with OSC staff in its ongoing investigation into illegal insider activities in securities of Amaya, including testifying as a witness.
“Mr. Cheng’s involvement in insider tipping was a serious breach of Ontario securities law,” said OSC commissioner Mark Sandler in his oral reasons for the settlement approval. “The improper use of insider information leads to unfair advantages for those who use it and can undermine confidence in the integrity and fairness of public markets.”