Congressman defiant after insider trading indictment

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In a development celebrated by Washington D.C. ethics watchdogs, Republican Rep. Chris Collins (N.Y.)-President Donald Trump's first congressional supporter-on Wednesday was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and indicted on insider trading charges for actions that may have taken place while he was on the White House lawn.

"There is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins shared material nonpublic information in the purchase of Innate stock, in violation of House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law", according to the report by the non-partisan ethics office, released by the Ethics Committee last fall.

The company developed a drug meant to treat Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

It had the potential to be a big moneymaker for the company since there aren't many treatments available for the disease. But, by mid-2017, he had recommended the company to friends, colleagues and relatives.

It was a nightmare scenario for the company that was sure to cause its stock price to plummet.

Prosecutors said that in June 2017, while attending the congressional picnic at the White House, Collins learned in an email from Innate's chief executive that a trial for its proposed secondary multiple sclerosis drug MIS416 had failed.

Chris Collins, the conservative congressman from update NY, was at the White House in June 2017 for the annual congressional picnic when he received an email. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???"-and within six minutes called his son, Cameron Collins, to share the non-public news, the indictment states".

As an Innate director, Collins was required to keep that information secret.

According to the indictment, Collins immediately called his son and told him the news.

His son didn't pick up, leading to several rounds of phone tag until the pair connected at 7:16 p.m.

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Lawyers for Collins said the congressman would be "completely vindicated".

A minute later, according to court records, Collins began a series of phone calls to his son Cameron to tip him off to the test results "anticipating Cameron Collins would use it to trade and tip others". "It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock".

The Daily Beast reported that nearly 30 per cent of Innate was owned by Collins or his associates including his two children, four campaign donors, and his chief of staff, and six Republican congressman. They sold off stock or tried to, too. Then, on June 27, the company announced to the public that the trial had failed.

The stock tanked - dropping from a value of about 46 cents per share on June 26 to about 4 cents per share the next day.

The indictment charged Collins, his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins' fiancée, with securities fraud, wire fraud and other crimes.

The trial failure was "devastating information", Berman said.

Over the following three days, Cameron Collins sold 1.39 million shares. "And then he lied about it to law enforcement to cover it up".

In a report dated October 12, 2017, the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives "further review the above allegation because there is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins took official actions or requested official actions that would assist a single entity in which he had a significant financial interest, in violation of House rules and standards of conduct". Collins reportedly surrendered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For their role in the alleged scheme, Chris Collins, Cameron Collins and Zarsky are facing 11 felony charges each.

Attorneys for Mr. Collins, who was arrested Wednesday and charged with illegally sharing inside tips about an Australian biotech company, said the congressman denies the allegations and will be exonerated.