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Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday charged New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins, his son and another man with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and false statements stemming from an alleged insider trading scheme centered on an Australian pharmaceutical company.

In the 22-page civil complaint, Collins, his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron's fiancee, are accused of insider trading.

"The charges against Congressman Collins show the rampant culture of corruption and self-enrichment among Republicans in Washington today", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) fired off in a statement before prosecutors had even held a news conference to explain what they think Collins did wrong.

"The Congressman did not trade his shares, because of restrictions involving Innate shares in Australia, but he "instead tipped" his son, who quickly moved the next morning 'to sell approximately 16,508 shares of Innate".

Collins, a three-term incumbent representing New York's 27th congressional district, is facing re-election this fall. The charges were announced and the indictment unsealed on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018.

Just a few months later in June of 2017 came news of the failed drug trial, and the plunge in the share value of Innate. "Christopher Collins conveyed this material, nonpublic information to Cameron Collins knowing that it was in breach of his duties to Innate and anticipating that Cameron Collins would use it to trade and tip others", the indictment said.

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

Collins is on the board of directors for the company.

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

The congressman, through his attorneys, denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement to CNBC, attorneys for Collins vowed to "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name". Shares dropped 92% after the announcement. But Collins advised Cameron to sell his stock, and Cameron later told Zarsky and six other family members to do the same, according to the indictment. Collins' Democratic challenger, Nate McMurray, called the charges "shocking and sad, but not surprising". The congressman allegedly shared non-public information with his son, Cameron, that spurred a series of trades based on insider information.


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