Bumble Bee Foods president, CEO indicted for price fixing

  • Bumble Bee Foods president, CEO indicted for price fixing

Bumble Bee Foods president, CEO indicted for price fixing

US prosecutors filed a criminal charge Wednesday against the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods as part of an ongoing investigation into price fixing in the packaged seafood industry.

The indictment, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, charges Lischewski with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of packaged seafood beginning in or about November 2010 until December 2013.

The attorney representing Lischewski, John Keker said his client is innocent.

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. "When the facts are known and the truth emerges, Mr. Lischewski will be found not guilty, and that vindication will rightfully restore his good name". The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.

'American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices.

Bumble Bee agreed in May a year ago to plead guilty to one count of price-fixing and to pay a criminal fine of $25 million.

The civil class action lawsuit filings began in 2015 with a class-action suit filing from New York-based food distributor Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, which came after the DOJ began its investigation into the price fixing as part of its antitrust review for Thai Union's attempt to acquire Bumble Bee. Last year, two executives pleaded guilty to price fixing with Dongwan Enterprise-owned StarKist and Tri-Union Seafoods, the owner of Chicken of the Sea.

The indictment did not identify the alleged co-conspirators.

Those three companies have long dominated the US tuna market.

The scandal has already reeled in three more executives, who have all pleaded guilty to price fixing, two at Bumble Food and one at rival firm StarKist.