Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

GOP Rep. Collins Arrested, Charged With Insider Trading By New York Prosecutors

GOP Rep. Collins Arrested, Charged With Insider Trading By New York Prosecutors

Collins' seat was considered vulnerable even before the charges were announced, and he was targeted in a push by Andrew Cuomo, the governor, and other New York Democrats seeking to unseat him as the party looks to take control of the House of Representatives in November's midterm elections.

Western New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins has been indicted on insider trading charges, according to court documents unsealed in Manhattan federal court on August 8.

The House Ethics Committee investigated Collins' ties to the Australian biotechnology company in 2017 after the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog group, recommended the committee launch a full investigation. Long sat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which addresses health policy. Reps. John Culberson of Houston and Mike Conaway of Midland had also bought shares in the firm, though they apparently didn't dump shares shortly before the price crashed - unlike Collins' son, whose well-timed sale is at the heart of the insider trading case.

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"Christopher Collins knew or recklessly disregarded that he breached his duty by disclosing this inside information to Cameron Collins", the SEC said.

Collins was the first congressman to endorse Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and has been a loyal defender of Trump's agenda on Capitol Hill.

According to the indictment, after Collins learned a trial regarding a drug to treat multiple sclerosis failed, he contacted his son, who traded on the information.

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Collins was on the board of Innate Immunotherapetutics, one of its largest shareholders, and had access to nonpublic information about the company. Cameron Collins in turn allegedly tipped off Zarsky and others. When the drug trials failed, the public announcement caused the stock price of Innate to plunge 92 percent.

The defendants have also been charged with counts of wire fraud and false statements.

Rep. Collins' lawyers responded quickly to the allegations.

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The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of NY is expected to detail the charges in a press conference at noon.

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