19:59 GMT +313 December 2019
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    In this July 19, 2016 file photo, Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY. speaks in Cleveland.

    New York Rep. Argues Insider Trading Indictment Against Him 'Meritless'

    © AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
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    US Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) gave a speech broadcast on major cable news outlets rebuffing his Wednesday indictment over insider trading allegations, saying "I acted properly and within the law at all times," and that he looks "forward to being fully vindicated."

    Collins was arrested for insider trading Wednesday, just one day after reports surfaced accusing US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of swindling $120 million from business associates. Collins added in his speech that he will continue to seek reelection in November despite facing some 150 years in prison over the charges against him.

    He began the presser by touting his record on job creating and financing of important pharmaceuticals for treating HIV and multiple sclerosis.

    "Because my focus is to defeat the charges in court, after today I will not address any issues related to Innate Immunotherapeutics outside of the courtroom," Collins said later in the speech, referring to the company whose shares were traded illicitly, according to the indictment.

    Collins' alleged tale of mischief started on June 22, 2017 on the South Lawn of the White House at the annual Congressional picnic. During the festivities the congressman learned that Australian biotech company's innovative drug had failed during clinical trials, which meant the stock of the company was about to nosedive once information about the drug's dimmed prospects reached the public.

    "Wow. Makes no sense," Collins wrote in an emailed response to the CEO of Innate Immunotherapeutics, the biotech company. "How is that even possible," Collins wrote in the email, Politico reported Wednesday. 

    In total, Collins, his son Cameron Collins, and the father of Cameron's fiancée, face charges of security fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI. They allegedly skirted $768,000 in losses by trading on the insights before June 26 when the company announced to the public that its promising multiple sclerosis treatment drug failed clinical trials. The company's shares dove 90 percent following the announcement, Politico reported at the time.

    Collins is far from the only Republican official to be accused of corruption recently. Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigned after a slew of overspending charges were lodged against him. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross was accused on Tuesday of swindling some $120 million from his associates, former colleagues told Forbes.

    congress, indictment, corruption, insider trading
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