BFF-89 US congressman, Trump loyalist, indicted for insider trading

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US-POLITICS-CRIME

US congressman, Trump loyalist, indicted for insider trading

NEW YORK, Aug 8, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Republican congressman Chris Collins,
one of the first US lawmakers to declare support for Donald Trump’s
presidential candidacy, was indicted by federal prosecutors Wednesday on
charges of securities fraud connected to an alleged insider trading scheme.

Collins, 68, was arrested and charged along with his son Cameron Collins
and another defendant for their role in illegal trading of stock in
Australian biotechnology firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the elder
Collins was a board member, according to the indictment released by the US
Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The congressman is accused of tipping off his son about the results of
Innate’s failed drug trial before the results were publicly released in June
2017.

Collins broke the law by “passing material, nonpublic information
regarding the drug trial results to his son… so that Cameron Collins could
use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others,”
the indictment alleges.

Cameron Collins is accused of passing on that information to his fiancee’s
father, Stephen Zarsky, and others, who also benefited financially from the
insider knowledge.

The trades allowed the Collinses, Zarsky and others “to avoid over
$768,000 in losses that they would have otherwise incurred” if they sold the
stock after the announcement, according to the indictment.

On the day after the trial results were released, the company’s stock lost
92 percent of its value.

Chris Collins’ lawyers responded swiftly, insisting he will be “completely
vindicated.”

“We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and
will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name,” they said in a
statement.

Collins, who represents Buffalo’s suburbs and counties in upstate New
York, was the first House Republican to openly support Trump’s bid for the
party’s nomination in the 2016 race, and he has remained a loyalist to the
president.

BSS/AFP/FI/ 2202 hrs