Former SK Foods executive Scott Salyer pled not guilty to additional criminal charges in a Sacramento, Calif., court May 4.


SK Foods exec pleads not guilty to new charges

According to The Associated Press, Salyer entered his not guilty plea to violating antitrust laws after a grand jury indicted him April 29 on 12 counts, adding to previous charges Salyer previously pled not guilty to.

In the five new counts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division claim Salyer conspired with others to fix prices or rig bids for processed tomato products to three of SK Foods’ domestic customers, McCain Foods USA Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc., and Kraft Foods Inc., according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney.

The charges also include certain terms in contracts for the sale of processed tomato products, all in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Federal prosecutors allege Salyer, as SK Foods chief executive officer, orchestrated a wide-ranging bribery scheme over 10 years to defraud major food companies by selling them adulterated tomato products at inflated prices and bribing their purchasing managers.

To date, 10 former executives and employees of SK Foods and its customer companies have pleaded guilty to one or more federal felonies in connection with the schemes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Salyer has been in federal custody since Feb. 4, when he was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York returning from Zurich, Switzerland.