New York MPs do not plead guilty to insider trading fees
Updated at 8:08 pm EST
RN.Y. Rep. Chris Collins was arrested on Wednesday for allegations of insider trading.
A federal grand jury accused legislators in the Buffalo region of passing a non-public message from a biotech company to his son, who exchanged information and passed it on to others.
“Member Collins has deceived our market and our judicial system,” said Jeff Berman, a temporary US attorney for the Southern District of New York. “He put his family and friends above the public interest.”
Collins was charged with his son Cameron and Cameron’s fiancee’s father, Stephen Zarski.
According to the newly published indictment, timely sales based on internal information caused Cameron Collins, Zarsky and others to avoid the loss of more than $768,000 by biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics failed to pass critical clinical trials.
According to the indictment, Collins attended a congressional picnic at the White House on June 22, 2017, when he received an email from Innate’s CEO informing him that a promising drug had not passed clinical trials. A few minutes later, Collins called his son, who then passed the message to others.
Berman said: “The crime he committed was to give his son Cameron a tip, so that Cameron and others can choose other people to trade news, while the investing public is still in the dark.”
Collins and other defendants were accused of securities and wire transfer fraud, conspiring and lying to investigators. Members of Congress did not plead guilty and were released.
Collins told reporters on Wednesday night: “I believe that my relationship with France has always been in the law.” “The charges against me are unfounded. I will vigorously defend in court to clear my name.”
Collins stressed that he did not sell any of his shares in the company. After the bad results of clinical trials were announced, his share price fell 92%.
According to the indictment, the older Collins could not sell his stock because it was held in Australia and the trading in Australia had stopped before the company announced it. However, over-the-counter trading in the US continues, with shares in Cameron Collins and Zarky being held.
The deal between Collins and Innate Immunotherapeutics is also the subject of an ongoing Congressional ethics survey. He promoted the stock to former Congressman Tom Price, R-Ga. When he was nominated as President Trump’s first Minister of Health and Human Services, Price’s own share of the company became a problem.
“Although his guilty or innocence is a matter for the court to resolve, the allegations against the House of Representatives Ethics Committee require a quick and thorough investigation of the House Ethics Committee,” Ryan said in a statement. “The insider trading is a clear violation of public trust. Before this issue is resolved, Rep. Collins will no longer serve as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a parallel civil lawsuit designed to prevent Collins from serving as an officer or director of any listed company in the future.
Collins is one of the richest members of Congress and was the first member to publicly support Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. He also worked for Trump’s transition team.
Berman said the prosecutor is cautious about the upcoming midterm elections, but added that this did not affect the timing of the indictment. Nate McMurray, Collins’ Democratic challenger, said the allegations were “shocking and sad, but not surprising.”
McMurray said in a statement: “Anyone who has been paying attention knows what happened.” “Now, the jig has started, because no matter how this rotation is done, it is obvious that the swamps in Washington, DC are still Very active.”
The non-partisan “Cook Political Report” sees the region as likely to remain in the hands of the Republican Party.
Collins is considered to be the first member of Congress to face allegations related to insider trading, although legislators are knowledgeable about insider information and some are active stock traders.
A study by US senators on stock trading in the 1990s found that their performance exceeded the market by 12% on average each year.
“They are either geniuses in the stock market, or they know something we don’t know,” said Craig Holman, a public citizen congressional watcher.
In 2012, after the “60 minutes” exposure, Congress passed a law requiring members to disclose their stock transactions within 45 days. Holman said that since the new transparency standard came into effect, the Senate’s trading volume has fallen by more than two-thirds.