NY congressman Chris Collins was arrested Wednesday and charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Prosecutors say the charges relate to a scheme to gain insider information about a biotechnology company headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Auckland, New Zealand.
The indictment obtained from a federal grand jury also charges Collins' son, Cameron Collins, as well as the father of his fiancee, Stephen Zarsky.More news: Mendocino Complex Fire is now the largest fire in CA state history
His son then traded on that inside information and passed it to Zarsky, along with numerous unnamed co-conspirators, "so that they could utilize the information for the same goal", according to the indictment. Indeed, Collins lost $17 million when the company's stock pice dipped down to five cents, according to reports from last June.
Collins' attorneys said they plan to "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name".
In October, a congressional ethics investigation determined there was "a substantial reason to believe" Rep. Collins violated federal law when he promoted stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics using insider information.More news: Great white shark breaches below researcher off Cape Cod
Collins was the first congressman to endorse Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and has been a loyal defender of Trump's agenda on Capitol Hill.
Lawyers for Collins released a statement expressing confidence he would be "completely vindicated and exonerated".
The statement indicated that Collins would address the charges later on Wednesday.More news: 2018 primary election: Check back for results from statewide and local races
It is alleged in the indictment that the congressman, who served on the board of Innate and held 16 per cent of its stock, revealed to his son the results of clinical trials involving an experimental multiple sclerosis drug in a flurry of phone calls just minutes after being apprised of the trial results from Innate's CEO.
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