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Canadian gaming CEO resigns after being accused of flouting COVID-19 rules

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Moira Warburton
·2 min read
Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker
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By Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Great Canadian Gaming Corp CEO Rod Baker has resigned, the company said on Monday, after he and his wife were charged with traveling to northern Canada and misleading authorities in order to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The North York, Ontario-based company said in a statement that it received the chief executive officer's resignation on Sunday but offered no details, stating that it did not comment on personnel matters.

Baker did not immediately return a request for comment.

Great Canadian Gaming Corp is in the process of being bought by Apollo Global Management Inc for C$2.52 billion ($1.98 billion).

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, which first reported the incident, said Baker, 55, and his wife Ekaterina Baker, 32, had traveled from Vancouver to the Yukon territory and posed as local workers in the remote community of Beaver Creek in order to receive a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The sparsely populated territory, home to a high proportion of indigenous people, is situated in northwestern Canada, where government data shows a faster vaccination rate than in the rest of Canada. It covers almost 500,000 km (310,685 miles) with just under 36,000 residents.

Watch: Florida bill would make vaccine scams a third-degree felony

Documents filed in the Yukon court registry show the pair were charged on Thursday with having failed to behave in a manner "consistent with (their) declaration."

They also were charged with failing to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Yukon and each was fined C$1,150 ($902.60), according to the tickets.

"We are deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes," White River First Nation Chief Angela Demit, leader of the local indigenous nation, wrote on Facebook.

Yukon's Community Services Minister John Streicker said in a statement he was "outraged" and found it "disturbing that people would choose to put fellow Canadians at risk in this manner."

A spokesman for the Yukon government said it would implement new requirements for proving residency in the territory.

Last month Apollo sweetened its bid for Great Canadian Gaming Corp, helping the private equity firm to win support of shareholders who had opposed the initial offer.

($1 = 1.2741 Canadian dollars)

Watch: How does the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK compare with other countries?

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Denny Thomas, Howard Goller and Richard Pullin)