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AUDIO: Haslam talks about investigation

AUDIO: Haslam talks about investigation

(Nashville) - Browns owner Jimmy Haslam held a news conference Friday at the headquarters of his family business, Pilot Flying J.

The newser came a day after a 120-page affidavit to a search warrant was filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, TN, yesterday. It says, in effect, that Haslam knew about rebate fraud committed by top sales officials at his Knoxville, TN., based business.

Haslam says he is not stepping down as Pilot Flying J CEO and continues to believe the company will be exonerated.  He did say the timing of the search warrants' release was "surprising." Haslam also did not address his ownership of the Browns.

The federal documents that were unsealed identify a Pilot Flying J employee as a confidential source for the investigation.

They allege that Haslam knew about the fraud scheme that targeted unsophisticated trucking companies through a rebate program and was present for discussions about the rebate fraud activities.

Haslam released this statement Thursday:

"I've read the affidavits. I now understand more clearly the questions the federal investigators are exploring. I maintain that the foundation of this company is built on its integrity and that any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable. We will continue to cooperate with the federal investigation and continue our own investigation in these allegations. I value the relationships we have with our customers, our vendors and our team members across this country and regret that they have to go through this with us, but I trust and believe their faith in this company and its principles has never been misplaced."

The company headquarters was raided Monday by FBI and IRS agents.

Pilot Flying J is a private company, mostly owned by Haslam, his brother, Bill Haslam, who is the Governor of Tennessee, and other family members.

Pilot Flying J is the nation's No. 1 retailer of diesel fuel, and its customer rebate program with trucking firms is at the center of the investigation.

(Copyright 2013 Clear Channel and The Associated Press, all rights reserved.)


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