News World Ex-Congressman jailed for Australian stock tip

Ex-Congressman jailed for Australian stock tip

Former US congressman Chris Collins has been jailed over an attempt to avert losses from an Australian biotech firm. Photo: AP
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Disgraced former US congressman Chris Collins has been sentenced to two years and two months in prison after offering highly-sensitive information about an Australian biotech firm to his son.

Collins, 69, was sentenced by US District Judge Vernon Broderick in Manhattan of Friday after he pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to law enforcement officials.

One of US President Donald Trump’s earliest supporters, Collins wept as he apologised to his family and admitted how his life was “shattered”.

The former member of the US House of Representatives and wealthy businessman was a major investor and board member of Australian Stock Exchange-listed Innate Immunotherapeutics, a small biotech firm with offices in Sydney and Auckland.

On June 22, 2017, Innate emailed Collins – who was at a White House congressional picnic – with the confidential news clinical trials for their potential “breakthrough” multiple sclerosis drug had failed.

Just minutes later Collins, knowing the news would tank Innate’s stock price, breached his duties as a board member by calling his son, Cameron Collins, who also was a substantial Innate shareholder.

Prosecutors allege Cameron Collins, the day after hearing the trial news from his father and before it was made public, sold approximately 1.391 million Innate shares.

The sales allowed Cameron Collins to avoid approximately $US570,900 ($A845,300) in losses, prosecutors said.