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Ex-Bumble Bee CEO Must Face State Price-Fixing Suits

 |  June 3, 2020

Washington state’s attorney general sued tuna maker Starkist and the former CEO of Bumble Bee Foods over their role in a nearly decadelong price-fixing conspiracy, following an antitrust case first brought by the Justice Department, reported Bloomberg Law. 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed an antitrust suit Tuesday, June 2, in an attempt to recover damages from Starkist, its parent company Dongwon Industries, and the former Bumble Bee executive Christopher Lischewski for their role in conspiring to fix and drive up the cost of packaged tuna.

According to a written statement released by Ferguson’s office, the actions by StarKist and former Bumble Bee Foods CEO Christopher Lischewski resulted in at least US$6 million in higher tuna costs for state residents. 

“We cannot have a free market when corporate titans are able to tip the scales to their own bank accounts,” Ferguson said in the statement. “Washingtonians lost millions as a result of this corporate greed. I intend to get that back for them.”

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court and accuses Lischewski and StarKist officials of engaging in price fixing from 2004 through 2015. The efforts helped raise the costs of cans and pouches of tuna in violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, the attorney general said.

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