A federal grand jury indicted Christopher Lischewski, the CEO of Bumble Bee foods as part of an
antitrust investigation. The grand jury determined that the government had produced sufficient evidence of antitrust price-fixing for packaged seafood products.
According to the Department of Justice, Bumble Bee Foods regularly met with competitors between November 2010 and December 2013. The DOJ also claims Bumble Bee, Starkist and Chicken of the Sea conspired to set the prices of packaged seafood products. Major US grocery companies sued Bumble Bee amid the DOJ investigation, claiming the companies colluded to set prices.
The DOJ has also indicted three other people in connection with the price fixing scheme. In 2016, a Bumble Bee senior Vice President pleaded guilty to conspiracy. In 2017, Bumble Bee paid a $25 million criminal fine, after admitting it participated in the anti-competitive conspiracy. If convicted, Lischewski faces up to 10 years in federal prison and also a $1 million fine.
Lion Capital, a British private equity firm, owns Bumble Bee Foods of San Diego. The Thai Union Group owns El Segundo’s Chicken of the Sea. South Korea’s largest fishing company, Dongwon Industries, purchased Starkist from Del Monte in 2008. Starkist is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.
California Antitrust Lawyer
When you face criminal anticompetitive charges, hire an experienced antitrust lawyer like Robert Helfend. Antitrust statutes feature both civil and criminal penalties. Certain anti-competitive actions violate the criminal provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act. These actions include price fixing, bid rigging and also market allocation.
An experienced criminal defense attorney is your best strategy when facing federal prosecutors. The Department of Justice has immense resources and rarely takes cases to court that it isn’t sure it can win. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to defend yourself, however. An aggressive attorney can help build an effective defense strategy, eliminate charges and then reduce the potential impact of a conviction.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County antitrust case.
Photo Credit: Rusty Clark, via Flickr.com