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Amaya offices are shown in this undated photo.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

David Baazov, the president and chief executive of Amaya Inc., has broken his silence.

An investigation by Quebec's financial sector regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), into "trading activities" around the company's blockbuster acquisition of Rational Group Ltd., was made public in December, amid the dramatic news that the AMF, aided by the RCMP, had led a search of Amaya's headquarters outside Montreal.

Since then, however, Amaya had said very little. The company issued a statement on Dec. 11 saying it is cooperating with the AMF and that the probe "does not involve any allegations of wrongdoing" by the company. Mr. Baazov had not spoken to the media in the interim.

Reading from a prepared speech at the 2015 Cantech Investment Conference in Toronto on Thursday, Mr. Baazov appeared to be stumped as to what the AMF's investigation could be about.

"What we know is very little at this time. We don't know the basis of the investigation. We don't know what trades [are under scrutiny], or what time period." he said.

However, Mr. Baazov revealed that he was not surprised when the AMF came knocking on Amaya's door after the transaction was made public.

"Our board and external legal counsel had expected an investigation into the trading activity of our shares leading up to the announcement."

He said that it was not uncommon for a deal of this size to merit a closer look by the regulator. He noted that it was a "shocking transaction to some," because of the price paid ($4.9-billion U.S.) and because Amaya issued stock at more than a 100 per cent premium as part of the financing. (The company also borrowed about $3-billion to finance the deal.)

Mr. Baazov said that after it was contacted by the AMF, Amaya continued to provide the regulator with any information it requested "through the year."

He said the approximately 80 per cent run-up in Amaya shares between mid-May and early June coincided with speculation from analysts, and subsequently the media, that a deal might be in the works.

Mr. Baazov noted that Amaya had a "bumpy" start to 2014. He added that it was only after the company's first quarter results were issued on May 15, that Bay Street started speculating about a transaction possibly being in the works.

On June 12, Amaya announced the acquisition of Rational Group, the owner of popular online poker web site PokerStars. The deal transformed little-known Amaya into the biggest online gambling company in the world.

Amaya shares, which had been steadily rising in the months before the announcement, shot up 42 per cent the next day.

Amaya's stock continued to move higher in the months after the deal, closing at an all-time high of $38.74 a share on Nov. 28.

After the AMF's investigation was made public, the stock lost about 18 per cent of its value. The stock has since recovered some of those losses following the announcement Monday of its intention to buy back up to five per cent of its shares.

A call made to the AMF was not returned.