Former Bumble Bee CEO Chris Lischewski admitted to receiving non-public information from competitors through his employees in his testimony Monday during the price-fixing trial on, reported Law360.
Previously, Lischewski testified he had no knowledge of price-fixing among the companies involved. However, the new testimony included an admission that he may have asked employees to gather details from Bumble Bee competitors.
"It may have happened occasionally," Lischewski said.
He also cited that he could not recall whether he had received such information directly from his competitors.
Lischewski also told the jury that he received notice of possible antitrust violations prior to the investigation launched by the Department of Justice (DOJ), through a letter from a board member, but did not proceed with an internal investigation.
Bumble Bee announced last week it filed for bankruptcy in order to enter an "asset purchase agreement" with Taiwan-based FCF Co Ltd, which has agreed to acquire the company’s assets for approximately $925 million (€835.5 million).
2004 - 2010. Defendants shared a common canner in American Samoa, Impress, which is allegedly connected to collusive can size reduction.
2004. Groups colluded to increase prices of canned tuna at least twice.
2006. Groups colluded to increase prices of canned tuna at least once. “By 2007, defendants became more practiced and ambitious in their collusive designs," allegedly downsizing their can size while raising prices.
2007: The NFI created the Tuna Council, whose only members were the defendants, allegedly.
2008. Alleged collusion on price increases on canned tuna.
2010: Defendants allegedly colluded and raised net prices on canned tuna. Net prices are the prices disseminated to brokers of shelf stable seafood products, and represent the list price, less promotional allowances offered by defendants to reduce the list price.
November 2011 - June 2013: Senior executives and sales personnel of the StarKist, Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea allegedly "exchanged emails and had telephone conversations about discounting and promotional practices and terms for the sale of canned tuna to customers." They also allegedly "assured each other that they would not compete regarding the pricing and sale of canned tuna sold to customers."
December 2011 and January 2012: Senior executives and sales personnel of defendants allegedly had telephone conversations "about coordinating and announcing a price increase for a number of products in the second quarter of 2012." Price increases were allegedly "virtually identical" and "other products also increased by identical percentages."
2011 - 2013: StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee allegedly told customers certain factors in the tuna sector made it necessary to increase tuna prices. They allegedly "cited their own predictions about where the tuna market was heading as the basis for a price increase."
2012 - July 2015: Defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly agreed to avoid FAD-free tuna.
July 2015: Published reports revealed US Department of Justice convened a grand jury to investigate potential antitrust violations by companies in the market for the production, pricing and/or sale of packaged seafood, including canned tuna.