New York Congressman Arrested On Insider Trading Charges

Hugh Fox
August 8, 2018

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for insider trading related to an Australian biotechnology company.

The Congressman, his son, and his son's father-in-law also all face charges of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, denying that they had been wrongly given any inside information by Rep. Collins about Innate's drug trial failure.

The indictment relates to "securities of Innate Australian biotechnology company on whose board of directors Christopher Collins served", the DOJ said.

He added that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District will give a press conference on the arrest at noon.

In a statement, the congressman's legal counsel addressed the accusations, expressing confidence he will be vindicated and exonerated in court.

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"Congressman Collins violated his duty to keep innate information secret", said Geoffrey Berman, the USA attorney for the Southern District of NY, in a news conference Wednesday. They believe it to be the first insider-trading case against a sitting congressman.

Collins's district in Western New York is solidly Republican and voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.

Just a few months later in June of 2017 came news of the failed drug trial, and the plunge in the share value of Innate. They say Cameron Collins traded on the inside information and passed it to a third defendant, Stephen Zarsky.

Charging documents said Innate was testing a drug called MIS416, to see if it was an effective treatment for Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

Collins is estimated to be the 13th wealthiest member of Congress, with a projected net worth of $44 million.

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

Tom Price, R-Ga. Price went on to become President Donald Trump's first secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.

Attorneys for Cameron Collins said, "We intend to mount a vigorous defense on behalf of our client".

Collins has denied any wrongdoing.

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.

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Many of Collins's congressional colleagues also bought shares in Innate, including Representatives Mike Conaway of Texas and Doug Lamborn of Colorado.

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