Uber probes dealings in M'sia as potential DOJ suit looms

An Uber motorcycle taxi driver stops at a food stall next to a shopping mall in Jakarta Indonesia Sept 20 2017. Reuters

"Emil Michael and Eric Alexander, two former business executives at Uber, played key roles in negotiating those deals", Bloomberg said in its report, quoting the same sources.

Bloomberg and Reuters both reported that the American ride-hailing company has been looking into multiple payments in Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere.

A Bloomberg report said that in August the US Department of Justice launched a preliminary investigation into whether Uber's company managers broke US laws - namely, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - by bribing foreign officials.

Sources said that Uber is already reviewing its Asia operations and has notified USA officials about payments its staff in Indonesia made to authorities there.

UBER Technologies Inc's dealings with the Malaysian government are being scrutinised by investigators in the United States looking into whether the ride-hailing service broke U.S. bribery laws in its operations in five Asian countries, Bloomberg reports today.

Attorneys are focused on suspicious activity in at least five Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea, Bloomberg said, adding that Uber's law firm is reviewing financial arrangements tied to the Malaysian government that may have influenced lawmakers there. Uber has passed details of these payments to the DOJ, and fired one employee responsible, the reports say. He has now left the company. According to its sources, though, the law firm is also digging into how the company's execs got their hands on the private medical records of the woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India.

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 previous year, the people said. Around that time, a Malaysian pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan, invested $30 million in Uber, said people familiar with the deal.

Ride-hailing service Uber is in hot soup in the United States over its dealings in Asia.

The lawyers are looking at a corporate donation of tens of thousands of dollars, announced in Aug 2016, to the Malaysian Global Initiative and Creativity Centre, which is a government-backed entrepreneur hub.

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



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