New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins arrested on insider trading charges

Chris Collins

Chris Collins

Rep. Chris Collins is facing federal charges related to alleged insider trading, according to a breaking news report from CNBC.

Cameron Collins, son of the 68-year-old legislator, was also arrested, along with Stephen Zarsky, whose daughter is engaged to the younger Collins.

Collins, a Republican from NY, served on the board of an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics, and was also the company's largest shareholder.

The 30-page indictment states that Cameron Collins sold around 1,391,500 shares of Innate stock before the company announced the drug trial had failed and prices plummeted.

"We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name", his attorneys, Jonathan Barr and Jonathan New, said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Lawyers for Collins released a statement expressing confidence he would be "completely vindicated and exonerated".

Collins, who represents the suburbs of Buffalo and rural counties in upstate NY, became the first House Republican to endorse Donald Trump's bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

The charging documents portray a scramble by the congressman and others in the wake of bad news about the drug trial.

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Democrats were helped along by some serious charges from federal prosecutors in NY.

While Collins bought the stocks before a crash, Culberson bought at a peak price in January 2017, the Houston Chronicle reported. Cameron Collins in turn allegedly tipped off Zarsky and others.

Collins got the news of the drug trial in a June 2017 email from the company's chief executive officer while attending an event on the South Lawn of the White House.

Last August, the House Ethics Committee took up an inquiry into Collins and allegations that he had shared nonpublic information about the company, in violation of House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

The congressman, through his attorneys, denied any wrongdoing. Over-the-counter trading continued, however, in the US, where Cameron Collins' and Zarky's shares were held.

This is not the first time the congressman's involvement with Innate has attracted scrutiny.

"They could only sell their shares by virtue of the initial tip of inside information by Congressman Collins".

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