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 indictment charges the congressman, his son Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky with securities fraud, wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and counts of making false statements.
Prosecutors say the charges relate to a scheme to gain insider information about Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, a biotechnology company headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Auckland, New Zealand. His son and the father of his son's fiancee were also indicted and charged with fraud. "We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated", the statement reads.
Chris Collins is a three-term Republican incumbent who represents New York's 27th Congressional District.
It is rare for prosecutors to indict a sitting elected official, particularly in an election year, and in the case of Collins, prosecutors at the Southern District of NY carefully weighed when to bring the charges, staying mindful of the upcoming election cycle in November, according to people familiar with the matter.
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An Office of Congressional Ethics report earlier this year found that Collins may have violated federal law by sharing nonpublic information with investors of the Australian pharmaceutical company.
Rep. Chris Collins (R., N.Y.) was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday and indicted on charges related to securities fraud.
Collins is estimated to be the 13th wealthiest member of Congress, with a projected net worth of $44 million.
No allegations of misconduct have been leveled against him or Conaway, a former chairman of the House Ethics Committee.
He was one of the first members of Congress to officially endorse Donald Trump for president.