NY Republican congressman indicted over insider trading charges

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Washington, Aug 8 (IANS) New York Republican Representative Chris Collins was charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and false statements on Wednesday, according to the Justice Department.

Collins, who was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential bid, surrendered in the morning at his attorney’s office in Manhattan, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Attorneys for Collins said in a statement that they “will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and will mount a vigorous defence to clear his good name”, CNN reported.

The indictment was related to Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company, on whose board the congressman served.

Collins illegally shared non-public information about the company with his son Cameron, who traded on the information, according to federal prosecutors.

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Cameron Collins then passed that information along to Stephen Zarsky, his fiancee’s father. The trades allowed Collins, his son, and Zarsky to avoid $768,000 in losses, according to the indictment.

“It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate (Immunotherapeutics) stock. We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated,” the statement continued.

The House Ethics Committee last October revealed that it was investigating Collins, for potentially violating federal law and House rules regarding insider trading.

The outside, non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics began a review of Collins’ activity in March 2017 and voted to send its findings to the House ethics panel that July, which can formally launch investigations and recommend any sanctions against any lawmaker it determines has broken any rules.

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–IANS

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