Early Trump Backer Rep. Chris Collins Indicted on Insider Trading Charges

August 8, 2018, 3:44 PM UTC

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins was indicted on insider trading charges on Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said. Collins’ charges include using inside information about Australian biotechnology company Innate Immunotherapeutics to make stock trades, CBS News reported.

A grand jury indicted Collins for passing private material to his son Cameron in June 2017, so that Cameron “could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others” about a drug the company developed to treat Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

Cameron owned more than 2% of Innate stocks, and then passed the information to Stephen Zarsky, his fiancée’s father, prosecutors said, according to NBC News.

Collins, his son, and Zarsky face insider trading charges, securities fraud, wire fraud, and others charges.

Following the dealings, the drug trial failed and Innate’s stocks fell by 92%. The three men avoided over $768,000 in losses, according to prosecutors.

In a statement, attorneys representing Rep. Collins denied any wrongdoing. “We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name. It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock,” the statement read.

“We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated. Congressman Collins will have more to say on this issue later today.”

Collins was one of President Donald Trump’s earliest congressional supporters. Collins endorsed Trump in early 2016 and has been an ardent defender of the president. He has publicly urged special counsel Robert Mueller to end his investigation of Trump’s presidential campaign.

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