Stephen L. Hodge, the former SVP Sales of Pittsburgh-based StarKist, a subsidiary of the Dongwon Group in South Korea, has been charged with conspiring with other tuna company executives to fix the price of canned seafood from 2011 to 2013, according to published reports. Hodge faces one count of price fixing, according to the U.S. Department of Justice documents filed May 30.
The Justice Department’s ongoing price-fixing investigation has centered on the three tuna companies that dominate the U.S. market: Tri-Union Seafoods’ Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee Foods LLC and StarKist.
Bumble Bee agreed last month to plead guilty to one count of fixing the prices of canned tuna and pay a $25 million criminal fine, while two of its executives agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing last December.
Retailers including Walmart, Kroger, Wegmans and Albertsons have joined a class action against the “Big Three” tuna companies in relation to the alleged price-fixing scheme.