The former president and CEO of packaged seafood company Bumble Bee was convicted on Dec. 3 for his participation in an antitrust conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna, the Justice Department announced.
Following a four-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, a jury convicted Christopher Lischewski for conspiring to fix prices of canned tuna sold in the United States from around November 2010 until around December 2013. According to evidence presented at trial, Lischewski participated in a conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna that affected hundreds of millions of dollars in sales throughout the United States.
He also authorized and supervised his subordinates’ participation in the conspiracy. Lischewski and his co-conspirators employed measures to conceal their conspiratorial conduct, including meeting at offsite locations, using third-party e-mail addresses, and discouraging retention of documents concerning the conspiracy.
In May 2017, Bumble Bee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $25 million criminal fine in the ongoing federal antitrust investigation into the packaged seafood industry. The charges against Bumble Bee were the third to be filed—and the first to be filed against a corporate defendant—in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation into price-fixing among some of the largest suppliers of packaged seafood.
In September, StarKist was sentenced to pay a $100 million criminal fine. In addition to Bumble Bee and StarKist, four individuals, including Lischewski, have been charged in the investigation. The other three individuals pled guilty and testified in Lischewski’s trial.