(Adds comment from Bumble Bee)
WASHINGTON Dec 21 A Bumble Bee tuna
executive has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix the
prices of canned tuna, the second Bumble Bee executive to do so
in a month, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
Kenneth Worsham agreed to plead guilty to one count of
felony price fixing between 2011 and 2013 but did not identify
the company he works for, the Justice Department said. Related
civil lawsuits alleging tuna price fixing identify Worsham as a
senior vice president of marketing for Bumble Bee.
Bumble Bee executive Walter Scott Cameron agreed early this
month to plead guilty in the same conspiracy.
Bumble Bee spokeswoman Jill Irvin said that Worsham had been
put on paid leave, as Cameron had previously.
"Bumble Bee continues to fully cooperate with the Department
of Justice in regards to its ongoing investigation into the
packaged seafood industry." Irvin said in a statement. "The
company continues to remain hopeful that it can reach a
resolution with the DOJ on this matter, as it relates to the
company, in early 2017."
Worsham did not immediately respond to a telephone call
Worsham agreed to pay a fine and to cooperate with the
probe, the Justice Department said, without specifying the
amount of the fine.
The canned tuna market in the United States has long been
dominated by three companies: Thai Union's Chicken of the Sea,
Bumble Bee and StarKist.
About a year ago, the Justice Department told Thai Union
Group Plc, the world's largest canned tuna producer, that it
would file a lawsuit to stop its planned $1.5 billion
acquisition of U.S. rival Bumble Bee. Thai Union scrapped the
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and