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Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam under investigation, denies wrongdoing

04/22/2013 9:29 AM ET
By Matt Hughes

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has denied the allegations against him.(AP)
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam vows he will continue running the team despite allegations of fraud within his family business.  

FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents raided the Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., on Monday. The truck stop company owned by the Haslam family, including Jimmy Haslam and his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, allegedly withheld diesel price rebates from customers to bolster company profits and sales commissions according to court documents. 

Speaking to reporters in Knoxville on Friday Haslam denied any wrongdoing and said he will not step down as president of the company.

"I thought to myself, `Well, why would I do that?' Candidly, I haven't done anything wrong, No. 1," Haslam said. "No. 2, if there's ever a time the company needs our leadership, it's right now."

The legal woes for the National Football League's newest team owner come on the eve of this week's draft. Haslam said his role will remain the same with the Browns.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league was following the case, but has no plans to ask Haslam to step aside during the investigation. 

Haslam bought the Browns from Randy Lerner last year for just over $1 billion. He resigned as CEO of Pilot after completing the purchase of the team, but returned to the company in February. Previously, Haslam owned a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Follow Matt Hughes on Twitter: @hughesmatt

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