Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Uber reviews Asia business over bribery allegations in US

An Uber motorcycle taxi driver stops at a food stall next to a shopping mall in Jakarta Indonesia Sept 20 2017. Reuters An Uber motorcycle taxi driver stops at a food stall next to a shopping mall in Jakarta Indonesia Sept 20 2017. Reuters
Terence Owen | 21 September, 2017, 03:20

Uber is said to have fired that employee since, and the head of its Indonesian arm Alan Jiang - who approved the expense report - was placed on a leave of absence and has since left the company.

The United States Department of Justice is now investigating Uber to determine if it broke laws against overseas bribery.

Uber staff allegedly made payments to police officers in Asia to keep operating following a dispute over the location of its offices, according to both reports. Uber's former business executives, Emil Michael and Eric Alexander, are said to have been instrumental in working out those deals, said sources.

Partners at law firm Sheppard Mullin argued in a recent blog post that Uber's problems are typical for a fast-growing startup.

e27 has reached to Uber for a comment. The company is examining records of foreign payments and interviewing employees, which raised questions as to why some "potentially problematic" deals were not revealed sooner. Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment. Uber's law firm is also reviewing financial arrangements with Malaysia's government that may have influenced lawmakers there, it said.

Uber's law firm is probing into a corporate donation, announced in August last, of tens of thousands of dollars to the Malaysian Global Initiative and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), a government initiative to nurture start-ups.

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Uber's financial relationship with Malaysian government-linked agencies includes a $30 million investment by the country's second-largest pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP).

About a year later, Parliament passed a bill on ride-hailing laws that were favourable to Uber and others like it.

Bloomberg had reported that lawyers are trying to determine whether there was any form of quid pro quo between Uber and Putrajaya.

At least one senior member of the legal team at Uber initially decided not to report the incident to US officials when he learned of it late a year ago, the people said.

The report adds detail to the troubles facing new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as he sets about fixing the company's dysfunctional culture.

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