BUFFALO — Local Congressman Chris Collins responded to his insider trading charges in a press conference Wednesday evening after earlier in the day being booked on insider trading, and other criminal charges.
Congressman Collins, his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of his son’s fiancee were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and other counts for allegedly dumping off 1.5 million shares of stock prior to it’s approximately 65 percent plummet. Allegedly Collins passed on information to his family members that the FDA denied the company trial in a treatment for Multiple Schlerosis.
“The charges that have ben levied against me are meritless,” said Collins. “I will launch a vigorous defense, and I look forward to being fully vindicated.”
The trio were released on bond and will be back in court to face the charges in October. Prosecutors allege that Collins tipped off the family members and they sold off 1.5 million shares of stock prior to it’s approximately 65 percent plummet.
Collins cited his faith in the company, Innate Immunotherapeutics and that he is proud of his continued relationship with the company. He also stated that he never sold any shares and remains an investoror with the company in which he serves as an unpaid member of the Board of Directors.
With his wife by his side the Congressman read a prepared statement and did not respond to any questions from the media after.
Collins represents the 27th Congressional District which includes all of Livingston County and potions or all of 7 other New York State Counties. Shortly after the charges were filed, House Speaker Paul Ryan dumped Collins from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
He is currently being challenged by Democrat Nate McMurray in a bitterly contested race.