Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

NY congressman arrested on insider trading charges

NY congressman arrested on insider trading charges

Two Texas Republicans are among the lawmakers who invested in an obscure Australian pharmaceutical company at the center of insider trading charges leveled Wednesday against Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y.

The congressman, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky-the father of Cameron's fiancee-were charged Wednesday with securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to federal officials.

Innate froze the trading of its stock in Australia on June 22, hours before the company shared the test results with top executives and board members, including Collins.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused Mr. Collins of sharing with his son the results of a failed drug trial completed by Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd., a biotechnology company headquartered in Sydney.

The case is U.S. v Collins, 18-cr-567, U.S. District Court, Southern District of NY.

Chris Collins' lawyers responded swiftly, insisting he will be "completely vindicated".

The attorneys added that Collins "will have more to say on this issue later today".

The congressman will speak to the charges later Wednesday, they said. During the tax reform debate, when his fellow New York GOP members of Congress were up in arms about a provision that would likely raise taxes on many New Yorkers, Collins voiced support for the plan.

"While his guilt or innocence is a question for the courts to settle, the allegations against Rep. Collins demand a prompt and thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee", said House Speaker Paul Ryan, who took Collins off the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee hours after the indictments were made public.

Attorneys for Mr Collins said in a statement that they will "mount a vigorous defence to clear his good name".

The New York Republican's son avoided $570,000 (£442,000) in losses thanks to the tip-off, says the indictment.

Collins, 68, has served in the House since 2012 and has planned on running for a fourth term in the November congressional elections. Price said he never received information that could be considered a stock tip and denied any wrongdoing.

Price, who resigned in September 2017 after criticism of his use of private and military planes for travel, accumulated an interest in the company at around 40 cents a share in 2015 and 2016, according to his financial disclosures. Shares dropped 92% after the announcement.

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

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