US congressman charged with insider trading ends re-election bid

A Republican congressman who was indicted on securities fraud charges reversed course Saturday and said he will end his re-election campaign.

Chris Collins, a representative from New York who is loyal to President Donald Trump, was arrested and charged this week.

He, his son and another defendant were indicted for alleged illegal trading of stock in Australian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the elder Collins was a board member.

Collins initially said he would seek to clear his name and continue his bid to keep his seat in the November midterm elections.

But on Saturday he released a statement on Twitter saying his campaign is now suspended and he will try to remove his name from the ballot.

Collins said this was in the best interest of his constituents, his party and Trump’s conservative agenda.

Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for president in 2016.

Under New York law, at this stage in the race Collins’ name can be removed from the ballot only if he dies, moves out of New York or is nominated for another office, Politico reported.

The exact mechanisms of removing his name are being worked out, although Collins does own homes in Florida and Washington, Politico added. (AFP)