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Economy and Business


Browns owner says trucker gas rebates spawned FBI investigation
Haslam maintains company did not evade state or federal taxes
by WKSU's GRANT ENGLE

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Grant Engle
 
Jimmy Haslam bought the Cleveland Browns for $1 billion in 2012.
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Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told reporters at a press conference in Tennessee that the FBI investigation of his other company revolves around unpaid gas rebates to trucking companies.

IRS and FBI agents raided Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville twice Monday, and Haslam says it has to do with rebates promised to trucking companies that buy large quantities of gas each month.

Marshall Stone is the spokesman for the Knoxville, Tenn., FBI office. He says the FBI won’t name any accusers while the investigation is ongoing.

Marshall Stone of the FBI in Knoxville, Tenn.

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“We initiate investigations from a variety of ways, whether that’s a referral from other agencies, or people giving tips and allegations. Of course, we encourage people to give tips and complaints, and we don’t want to do anything that would cause people to feel uncomfortable doing that.”

Stone says FBI and IRS investigators left Pilot Flying J headquarters Monday night, and the offices have reopened.

According to the newspaper the Tennessean, Haslam says his company did not evade state or federal taxes, and he “has no idea” why the IRS is involved.

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