Monday, 24 September, 2018

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

Rep. Chris Collins R-NY. speaks in Cleveland Rep. Chris Collins R-NY. speaks in Cleveland
Faye Gross | 08 August, 2018, 18:41

A NY congressman and his son were indicted for insider trading related to the shares of an Australian biotechnology firm, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Wednesday.

Collins, who was one of President Donald Trump's first congressional endorsers, has been under scrutiny for the past year for potential insider trading of shares of Innate Immunotherapeutics, a company where Collins himself is the largest majority shareholder. The charges were announced and the was indictment unsealed in New York City on Wednesday.

The Office of Congressional Ethics recommended the House ethics committee dismiss a third charge against Collins regarding a discount he received on a private sale of Innate stock because he was a member of Congress.

In the 22-page civil complaint, Collins, his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron's fiancee, are accused of insider trading. Prosecutors say Cameron Collins then passed the information along to Zarsky, who made a trade. "We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated", the statement reads. Collins served on the company's board of directors. They sold their stocks in the company before the public announcement, which caused the company's stock prices to drop by 92 percent.

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"We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name", Collins's attorneys said in a statement posted on his website. It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock.

The congressman will speak to the charges later Wednesday, they said.

Chris Collins, his son and Zansky avoided $768,000 in losses, according to the indictment.

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