GOP Rep. Chris Collins Hit With Insider Trading Charges

Chris Collins

NEW YORK-Republican U.S. Rep. Christopher Collins of NY was arrested Wednesday on charges he fed inside information that he gleaned from sitting on the board of a biotechnology company to his son, helping others dodge hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses when bad news came out.

Collins, a congressman representing New York's 27th District - which includes parts of Buffalo and Rochester - convinced his chief of staff and several colleagues in the House to buy into Innate Immunotherapeutics, before the company's stock crashed after its only drug failed a clinical trial.

Before the drug trial results were released publicly on June 26, Cameron Collins made more that 50 trades in Innate stock and sold almost 1.4 millions shares, the documents state.

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

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. Collins is accused of telling his son and his son's father-in-law about the disappointing results ahead of the public announcement, leading them to unload stocks before the drop.

"We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated", they said in a statement.

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

"Wow", Collins wrote back at 7:10 p.m., according to the indictment.




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

Collins was also a member of the company's board of directors. "How are these results even possible?"

Collins "placed his family and friends above the public good", said US Attorney Geoffrey Berman at a news conference Wednesday in New York City.

Collins gained prominence for being one of the earliest Capitol Hill backers of President Donald Trump.

There's no indication that Collins's legal troubles have any connection to the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling, the Trump campaign and Russia.

No allegations of misconduct have been leveled against him or Conaway, a former chairman of the House Ethics Committee.

"The Congressman did not trade his shares, because of restrictions involving Innate shares in Australia, but he "instead tipped" his son, who quickly moved the next morning 'to sell approximately 16,508 shares of Innate".

This led to three trades, it is alleged, that helped the defendants avoid $768,000 United States in losses. "Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust".

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