Bumble Bee CEO charged with price-fixing

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The San Diego-based company also agreed to cooperate with the Antitrust Division's ongoing investigation involving packaged seafood. "We are disappointed by the DOJ's decision to charge him with criminal conduct".

In December of 2016, two of the company's executives reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to price-fixing, following a Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division and FBI investigation.

'American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices. UK-based Lion Capital bought a majority stake in Bumble Bee in 2010 for $980 million. In December 2015, the Justice Department stopped Thai Union Group from buying Bumble Bee.

CEO Christopher Lischewski has become the fourth person charged in this federal probe into price fixing and was indicted in the Northern District of California U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Bumble Bee has been the first of the United States tuna brands to face criminal antitrust charges, and plans to resolve the matter with a guilty plea. Stephen Hodge, a former senior vice president for sales at StarKist, pleaded guilty a year ago to price-fixing "American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices, so the department will not tolerate crimes like the one charged in today's indictment", Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement announcing Lischewski's indictment.

Two other executives at Bumble Bee Foods have pleaded guilty in the price-fixing scheme, and previous year the firm agreed to pay a $25 million fine after pleading guilty to price fixing.

Stephen Hodge, who previously was an executive with StarKist, the tuna producer, was charged as well during May of 2017 with participating in the conspiracy to fix prices for canned tuna between 2011 and 2013.

Chris Lischewski, president and chief executive officer of Bumble Bee Seafoods, in his office overlooking Petco Park.

Bumble Bee and its co-defendants in the litigation are fighting the suits, asserting that the allegations are yet unproven.