Raided rabbi sues officials following Baazov raid

News on 18 Jan 2018

In their pursuit of former Amaya CEO David Baazov on insider trading allegations, the Quebec securities regulator Autorité des marchés financiers may have overstepped the mark in raiding and searching the Montreal home of Rabbi Momi Pinto last September…and he is suing them for it for a total of Cdn$ 230,000.

In papers filed this week Rabbi Pinto disclosed that in 2012 he bought his home from Yosef Ifergan, a person of interest in the Baazov case and the subject of a search warrant requested by AMF investigators.

The trouble was …Ifergan was not resident or the owner of the house at the time of the search, having sold it to Pinto .

Pinto claims that the AMF, which arrived in force early in the morning at his hom backed by local police and spent six hours ‘abusively’ searching the place, were grossly negligent and incompetent in not informing themselves regarding the change of ownership and the fact that for some time Ifergan had not lived nor frequented the address. In this they relied on outdated information, the rabbi claims.

Pinto’s lawyer, said the “humiliating and invasive” search, which traumatised Pinto’s wife and children, is a symptom of a larger problem. “It is the high-handedness of many government institutions today. They think they have a right to do whatever they want to do,” he said.

Pinto claims that the AMF should have been aware that Ifergan had moved to Calgary and had sold his house to Pinto five years earlier.

The investigators had presented Ifergan’s address from a five-year-old Amaya shareholder registry in applying for the search warrant, and Pinto claims they must have been aware that this was no longer Ifergan’s address, and a simple land registry search would have revealed that Ifergan was no longer the house’s owner,

Sylvain Théberge, a spokesman for the AMF, said the regulator will contest the Pinto complaint but would not comment further.

Pinto’s filing vehemently refutes a claim by AMF investigator Laurianne Carriere that she had twice recently observed Ifergan entering or leaving the house.

“Plaintiff Pinto and Mr. Ifergan look completely different in their appearance, aside from the fact both men have beards and wear Jewish skullcaps,” the lawsuit says, accusing the investigator of gross negligence,

Fellow AMF investigator Xavier Saint Pierre, who allegedly neglected to disclose that land registry records show Ifergan is no longer the property owner, displayed “extreme incompetence,” the lawsuit says. His actions exposed “innocent people to the abuses that the probable cause requirement seeks to avoid.”

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