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KNOXVILLE – Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam said today the raid Monday on his company was part of a federal criminal investigation into claims of failure to pay rebates to trucking customers.

“It does not involve any tax issues,” he said during a short press conference this afternoon at the company’s headquarters in West Knoxville.

“To my knowledge, there was no evasion of state or federal taxes involved.”

Haslam characterized the claims as coming from a small number of customers but didn’t know the exact number. He said he didn’t know what documents were seized during the search by agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.

He said some sales people were subpoenaed. He wouldn’t say who.

Haslam said he had not been subpoenaed.

Haslam, the majority owner of the Cleveland Browns of the NFL, runs the company founded by his father, Jim Haslam, more than 50 years ago. His brother, Bill Haslam, is governor of Tennessee and was once president of the company.

Earlier today, the company acknowledged the search warrants and subpoenas but would not outline their nature.

“It is not our place to be more specific,” a company statement read.

The company statement said that no executives were targeted “to our knowledge.”

The statement concluded that it was not for the company to say if the investigation was “politically motivated.”

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian confirmed this morning that a second search warrant had been executed but wouldn’t give specifics or say where the warrant was served.

“I can tell you that a second search warrant was issued last night,” Killian said. “It’s ongoing.”

No arrests have been made so far. Killian wouldn’t say whether any arrests appeared imminent, although he indicated the search could be part of a long-term investigation.

Federal authorities typically ask a judge to seal such warrants, rendering the contents secret.

The second search Monday night came hours after dozens of FBI and IRS agent raided the company headquarters on Lonas Road.

Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J is owner of more than 600 travel center locations across the U.S. and has more than 30,000 employees. It recorded revenues of $29.3 billion in 2011.

On Monday, FBI supervisory special agent Marshall Stone said the raid was part of an “ongoing investigation.”

He declined to divulge specifics of the raid.

“The FBI secured our headquarters today and informed us they are investigating Pilot Flying J,” Jimmy Haslam said in an email statement Monday afternoon.

“We will cooperate appropriately with any and all external investigations and conduct our own. I believe and trust there has been no wrongdoing. The integrity of our company always has been job No. 1.”

Pilot Food Marts, Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J Travel Plazas remain open, according to a statement from Pilot spokeswoman Lauren Christ of the Moxley Carmichael public relations firm.

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Article and Picture Courtesy of WEWS NewsChannel 5

Jimmy Haslam: Pilot Flying J Part of National Investigation on Rebates  was originally published on