Bumble Bee CEO Indicted in California for Tuna Price Fixing

Angelo Anderson
May 17, 2018

Chris Lischewski, president and CEO of Bumble Bee Food has been indicted by a federal grand jury in California for his role in a conspiracy to fix prices for canned tuna sold in the United States, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Major companies including Walmart have lodged a wave of lawsuits alleging the big three colluded to fix prices artificially high. The Justice Department said the company will be fined at least $25 million.

Stephen Hodge, a former executive at tuna producer StarKist, was also charged in May past year with participation in the conspiracy to fix the price of canned tuna from 2011 to 2013.

According to the indictment, Lischewski agreed to fix prices in meetings and other communications from November 2010 until December 2013.

Bumble Bee, based in San Diego, pleaded guilty past year to a criminal charge of conspiring to fix tuna prices.

Two of the company's executives, Kenneth Worsham and Walter Cameron, have pleaded guilty to price-fixing charges but have yet to be sentenced.

John Keker of the San Francisco litigation firm Keker, Van Nest & Peters is representing Lischewski in the case, and in a statement called the executive a "decent and honorable man" who is "innocent of any wrongdoing".

"American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices, so the (Justice) Department will not tolerate crimes like the one charged in today's indictment", Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general in charge of the department's Antitrust Division, said in a statement.

Lischewski is the fourth person to be charged in the ongoing investigation into the packaged seafood industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division's San Francisco Office and the FBI's San Francisco Field Office. Thai Union Group Plc's Chicken of the Sea is the largest, followed by Bumble Bee and StarKist.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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