Berkshire Hathaway opts against expedited trial in Haslam family bribery case


(MENAFN) Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has chosen not to pursue an expedited trial on bribery allegations against the Haslam family, billionaires and owners of the Pilot truck stop chain. However, Berkshire will retain the option to raise these concerns in the upcoming trial in January, where a judge will evaluate the Haslams' counterclaim that Berkshire attempted to depress earnings at the truck stop chain.

The dispute revolves around accusations from both parties that each sought to manipulate profits at the nation's largest truck stop chain. The financial figures are crucial as they will determine the amount Berkshire Hathaway must pay if the Haslam family decides to sell its remaining 20 percent stake in the business next year, in accordance with the agreement reached in 2017 when the family sold a portion of the business. The pricing is based on the earnings of the truck stop chain.

The Haslam family contends that Berkshire is suppressing earnings through an accounting change at Pilot. In response, Berkshire alleges that Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns and part of the Haslam family, attempted to bribe executives at the truck stop chain to inflate earnings. The Haslam family includes Jimmy Haslam, former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, and their father, who founded the company.

A Delaware judge has already scheduled a two-day trial in January to address the Haslams' allegations regarding the accounting change. However, the judge proposed that if Berkshire wished to have a verdict on its bribery claims concurrently, the company would need to forgo requesting additional evidence beforehand and limit the number of witnesses it plans to call.

The outcome of the January trial will determine when Berkshire's bribery allegations will be addressed in subsequent legal proceedings, adding complexity to an already intricate legal battle between the two parties.

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