FORMER GREY EXEC NOT GUILTY OF CONSPIRACY

John Steinmetz Acquitted; Ex-Color Wheel Salesman Found Guilty

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- A former vice president of Grey Worldwide was acquitted on Friday of conspiracy related to bid-rigging at Color Wheel, though a salesman for the printing supplier was found guilty.

The salesman, Birj Deckmejian, faces

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a maximum five-year-jail term for conspiracy in a scheme to defraud Grey. John Steinmetz was an associate director of graphic services at Grey and was one of several Grey employees to be named as defendants in the case.

A federal jury reached its decision after three days of deliberations.

The charges came in connection with a long-running U.S. Department of Justice investigation of kickbacks in the point-of-sale industry that had victimized agencies and liquor and tobacco companies.

Mr. Steinmetz's former supervisor, Mitch Mosallem, 59, who headed graphic services at Grey, and Joseph Panaccione, Grey's vice president and manager of graphics services, earlier pleaded guilty.

Earlier Barry Holland, a former vice president at Viacom's Viacom Outdoor Group, pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to accept kickbacks in exchange for steering printing contracts to Color Wheel. Haluk Ergulek, founder and former owner of Color Wheel, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced in March to 37 months in prison.

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