NY Rep. Christopher Collins indicted on securities fraud charges

Rep. Chris Collins R-NY. speaks in Cleveland

Rep. Chris Collins R-NY. speaks in Cleveland

US prosecutors on Wednesday said Chris Collins, a Republican congressman from Western New York, has been indicted for insider trading in connection with the securities of Australian biotechnology company Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd.

The Department of Justice released a statement that said the indictment is related to an Australian biotechnology company, Innate Immunotherapeutics.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan will speak about the indictment during a news conference scheduled for noon.

An early supporter of Donald Trump, Collins, who represents suburbs of Buffalo and Rochester, was the first congressman to endorse him, in February of 2016.

According to the indictment, the elder Collins was not able to sell his stock because it was held in Australia, where trading had been halted in advance of the company's announcement. We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated.

They added: "It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock".

All three defendants were in federal custody Wednesday and were expected to make their initial court appearance in the afternoon.

Collins' attorneys said they plan to "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name".

Prosecutors allege that Collins passed along secrets to his son, Cameron, in June 2017.

The Office of Congressional Ethics recommended the House ethics committee dismiss a third charge against Collins regarding a discount he received on a private sale of Innate stock because he was a member of Congress.

This led to three trades, it is alleged, that helped the defendants avoid $768,000 USA in losses.

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