Bumble Bee CEO indicted for tuna price-fixing scheme

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SAN DIEGO — The Bumble Bee CEO has been charged with conspiring to inflate tuna prices.

A federal grand jury indicted Christopher Lischewski, the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, in connection with a packaged seafood price-fixing scam.

The Department of Justice alleges that Lischewski met and communicated with rival seafood companies to keep tuna prices artificially high. Although the Justice Department doesn’t name the co-conspirators, major grocery chains, including Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons, sued Bumble Bee, Starkist and the maker of Chicken-of-the-Sea in 2016 for fixing prices.

The complaint alleges that Lischewski conspired with the other companies between November 2010 until December 2013. He is the fourth individual charged in a federal probe into the industry.

If convicted, he faces a potential 10-year prison sentence, a $1 million fine, and other penalties.

Bumble Bee could not be reached for comment.

In 2017, Bumble Bee agreed to plead guilty for its role in the conspiracy and agreed to pay a $25 million criminal fine.

Lischewski isn’t the only Bumble Bee executive to be charged in connection with the scheme. In 2016, Walter Scott Cameron, the company’s senior vice president of sales, agreed to plead guilty for his role in the conspiracy.

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