GOP Rep. Chris Collins was just arrested for insider trading

Rep. Chris Collins speaks at the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Collins was President Trump’s first congressional endorsement.

A New York Republican Congress member who bragged about turning his friends and acquaintances into millionaires — and was one of President Trump’s earliest and biggest supporters — was just arrested for insider trading.

Rep. Chris Collins, along with his son Cameron Collins and the father of his son’s fiancĂ©e, Stephen Zarsky, was arrested by FBI agents early Wednesday morning, according to NBC News. The case is centered on the Australia-based pharmaceutical company Innate Immunotherapeutics, a company in which Collins is currently the No. 2 shareholder. At one point, he held more than $45 million in Innate stock.

According to the federal government’s indictment, Collins shared non-public information about Innate — specifically, about negative results resulting from Innate’s clinical trials — with his son, who then passed that information along to Zarsky. The federal government alleges that by doing so, Collins, his son, and Zarsky were able to avoid nearly $800,000 in potential losses.

Collins’s connections with Innate Immunotherapeutics are well-known, with the Daily Beast reporting in 2017 that Collins had had close ties with the company since 2005. He encouraged many of his Republican colleagues to buy Innate stock, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (in fact, claims of insider trading were leveled against Price during his confirmation hearing). According to Business Insider in June 2017:

Price bought shares of the company in 2015 and 2016 while still a member of the House, representing Georgia. At least four of Collins’ Republican House colleagues followed suit, buying into Innate in January when the company traded at an all-time high of about $1.20 per share. Collins’ chief of staff, Michael Hook, is among Innate’s top 20 shareholders, as are two of the congressman’s children.

“I talk about it at every turn, just like you talk about your kids hitting a home run and your daughter getting into law school,” Collins told The Hill ...

He even bragged publicly, and in front of reporters, about how many of his friends, colleagues, and donors he had made wealthy by recommending they invest in Innate.

Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump, doing so on February 24, 2016, and he served as the congressional liaison to the Trump transition team.

In response to the federal government’s indictment, Collins’s lawyers released a statement Wednesday morning saying, “We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated.”

Read the indictment below:

source: vox

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