Last week, the Department of Justice announced that StarKist agreed to plead guilty to antitrust violations. The plea comes as part of a long-running federal investigation into price fixing in the tuna industry.
The StarKist plea represents the sixth criminal conviction resulting from this investigation. Last year, Thai Union, which owns Chicken-Of-The-Sea, admitted that its company participated in the scheme in exchange for leniency. Earlier this year, Bumble Bee Tuna also admitted its role in the price fixing conspiracy. In addition to the three corporate convictions, the Department of Justice brought charges against three executives from two companies. One of the convicted executives worked at StarKist.
According to federal prosecutors, the companies conspired to artificially inflate the price of premium canned tuna from 2011 to 2013. As part of its sentence, the company could face a fine of as much as $100 million. Bumble Bee agreed to pay a fine of $25 million earlier this year. That fine was more than $100 million less than the one sought by the Department of Justice. One of the largest tuna fishing companies in the world, Dongwon Industries, currently owns StarKist. Federal investigators began looking into tuna pricing when Thai Union attempted to buy StarKist in 2015. The merger failed, but Thai Union admitted the price fixing scheme to federal regulators.
Federal Criminal Antitrust Lawyer
When you face criminal charges for price fixing, bid rigging or other anticompetitive practices, hire an experienced criminal antitrust lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in federal criminal defense. He takes cases in any federal circuit in the United States.
The Department of Justice aggressively pursues criminal anticompetitive investigations. Your best defense strategy is to hire an equally aggressive criminal defense attorney to represent you in court.
Don’t settle for inexperience, especially when you face charges in federal court. 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: Kai Schreiber, via Flickr.com