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Browns owner Haslam 'absolutely not aware' of rebate fraud

By Eye on Football staff | CBSSports.com

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says he was unaware of his company's rebate practices. (USATSI)

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam reiterated Thursday morning that he had no knowledge whatsoever of the rebate fraud that spawned an FBI investigation into his truck-stop company, Pilot Flying J.

“I take responsibility for what happens at PFJ as the guy at the top of the shop, but I was absolutely not aware of any of this,” he said while speaking at a trucking conference in Indianapolis. “As soon as we found out there was an issue, we immediately began taking an aggressive stance in finding out what happened.”

Haslam's company is being investigated for intentionally withholding rebates from its customers to boost profits.

The Browns owner said his company has contracts with 5,000 trucking companies and, of the total, “approximately 250 of those manual rebate companies had some type of adjustment,” he said. "That doesn't mean they were wrong, but it looks to us like some kind of adjustments were made to the benefit of our company and to the detriment of the trucking company."

Haslam has met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but the league has yet to levy any punishment.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh's law firm has agreed to help companies allegedly cheated by Pilot Flying J. Last year, Freeh's firm famously released a 267-page report detailing the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.

For more NFL news, follow Mike Singer on Twitter @RealMikeSinger.

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