GOP Rep. Chris Collins charged with insider trading

Cheryl Sanders
August 8, 2018

Rep. Christopher Collins, a Republican congressman from NY, was arrested Wednesday and charged with insider trading related to an Australian biotechnology company. Reps. John Culberson of Houston and Mike Conaway of Midland had also bought shares in the firm, though they apparently didn't dump shares shortly before the price crashed - unlike Collins' son, whose well-timed sale is at the heart of the insider trading case.

That allowed them, prosecutors allege, to avoid more than $768,000 in losses they would have incurred if they had traded the stock after the drug trial results became public.

Collins, who resigned in April from the Innate board, has denied wrongdoing. He added that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District will give a press conference on the arrest at noon.

The indictment could rock Capitol Hill, The Hill newspaper reported in June 2017 that Collins bragged about making members of Congress money via tips about the Australian biotech company.

In October, a congressional ethics investigation determined there was "a substantial reason to believe" Rep. Collins violated federal law when he promoted stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics using insider information. According to the complaint, he passed inside information regarding the results of a negative test trial for a drug the company was producing to treat multiple sclerosis on to his son, who relayed the information on to his fiancé's father. "We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated", attorneys for Rep. Collins said in a statement on Wednesday.

Collins was an early Trump supporter and one of the president's liaisons in Congress.

Collins, a vocal Trump ally, worked closely with the administration during the presidential transition, serving as the point of contact between lawmakers and the Trump transition team.

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