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Trump ally indicted for illegal trading

Chris Collins   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

U.S. House Republican and Trump loyalist Chris Collins, who has been indicted by federal prosecutors for securities fraud, remained defiant on Wednesday as he vowed to clear his name and secure a re-election.

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 biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the elder Collins was a board member, according to the indictment, which was just unsealed.

“As I fight to clear my name, rest assured I will continue to work hard for the people and constituents of the 27th Congressional District of New York, and I will remain on the ballot running for re-election this November,” the congressman told a press conference late on Wednesday.

Collins, 68, “tipped his son to confidential corporate information at the expense of regular investors. And then he lied about it to law enforcement to cover it up,” according to Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Cameron Collins then used the insider information “to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others,” the indictment alleges.

Among the charged co-conspirators was Cameron's fiancee's father, Stephen Zarsky.

Innate had been developing a drug to treat multiple sclerosis, but in June 2017 the drug's clinical trial was declared a failure.

As a board member, Collins was informed of the “extremely bad news” by the company's chief executive before the findings were publicized.

Collins was a major investor in the company, owning millions of dollars' worth of its stock.

He himself did not trade any of his holdings ahead of the negative report's publication, in part because he was already under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding his holdings.

His stock ultimately declined by millions of dollars in value when the share price plummeted by 92 percent one day after the trial results were released, federal prosecutors said.

But he knowingly broke the law by alerting his son to the privileged data before its publication, it added.

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Printable version | May 3, 2021 8:06:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/trump-ally-indicted-for-illegal-trading/article24646313.ece

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