Antitrust Law Daily Bumble Bee president indicted for fixing prices of packaged seafood
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bumble Bee president indicted for fixing prices of packaged seafood

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

The president and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods LLC, Christopher Lischewski, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of packaged seafood between November 2010 and December 2013. According to the Justice Department, Lischewski authorized, ordered, and consented to the participation of subordinates to set the price of packaged seafood through a series of meetings and communications. If found guilty, the charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years of imprisonment, a fine of $1 million, and an order of restitution (U.S. v. Lischewski, Case No. 3:18-cr-00203-RS).

"The Antitrust Division is committed to prosecuting senior executives who unjustly profit at the expense of their customers," said Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. "American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices, so the Department will not tolerate crimes like the one charged in today’s indictment."

The one-count felony indictment alleges that Lischewski carried out the conspiracy by agreeing to fix the prices of packaged seafood during meetings and other communications. The co-conspirators are said to have issued price announcements and pricing guidance in accordance with these agreements.

Bumble Bee has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to pay a criminal fine of at least $25 million as a result of the government’s ongoing investigation. Lischewski is the fourth individual to be charged as part of the investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division and the FBI.

Attorneys: Leslie Allen Wulff, U.S. Department of Justice.

Companies: Bumble Bee Foods LLC; Tri-Union Seafoods LLC; StarKist Co.

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