Judge: StarKist to pay $100M fine in tuna price-fixing case

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FILE – In this Oct. 18, 2018 file photo the StarKist offices are seen on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. A federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, ordered StarKist Co. to pay a $100 million fine in a canned tuna price-fixing conspiracy involving the industry’s top three companies. (Stephanie Strasburg/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File)

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered StarKist Co. to pay a $100 million fine in a canned tuna price-fixing conspiracy involving three companies.

The Pittsburgh-based company had asked U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen to reduce the fine to $50 million, arguing a $100 million penalty could bankrupt it because it still faces millions more in potential civil damages.

Chen on Wednesday said the court found the company has the assets and the ability to borrow money to pay the fine.

Chen ordered the company to pay $5 million within 30 days and $11 million next year. Starting in 2021, the company will have to make payments of $21 million each year for four years.

StarKist last year pleaded guilty to a felony price fixing charge as part of a broad collusion investigation.

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