An international group of journalists conducted an investigation based on 124,000 confidential documents of Uber executives, various officials and world leaders in almost 30 countries around the world.
After studying the documentation, it became known that Uber used stealth technology to thwart anti-company regulatory and law enforcement efforts. The taxi service has also engaged lobbyists to woo prominent world leaders in order to influence legislation and avoid paying taxes.
Emails and miscellaneous reports provided to The Guardian by former chief Uber lobbyist Mark McGann. He also shared material with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and dozens of news organizations, including The Washington Post.
The results of the investigation formed the basis of Uber Files and were published on July 10. The documents examined relate to the period when the head of Uber was Travis Kalanick, who left the post in 2017.
What is known about the results of the investigation?
According to information obtained by reporters, Uber representatives met with politicians and asked for various favors, including “to stop investigations and change the policy regarding workers' rights.” Documents confirm that the company ignored taxi laws and violated the rights of workers.
Uber also used a kill switch to block the collection of evidence. The system created blocked access to the company's IT systems and prevented law enforcement officers from collecting evidence and clues during raids in at least six countries.
Documents available to journalists indicate that lobbyists, including former aides to President Barack Obama, have been pushing for government officials to drop investigations, rewrite labor and taxi laws, and relax driver screening.
In addition, the consortium used the threat of violence against Uber drivers in France by resentful taxi drivers as a way to garner public support. In one email, Uber executives warned that sending drivers to protest in France could lead to violence from angry taxi drivers.
The files also say Uber is funneling profits through Bermuda. The company cut millions of dollars in tax payments by hiding its profits in offshore and other tax havens, while helping the authorities collect taxes from their drivers.
What is known about Macron's lobbying for Uber?
Reporters found that Makronhad bailed out Uber after police suspended its operations in Marseille in 2015. The journalists also had personal correspondence between Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick and Macron. Macron, then economy minister, was allied with expanding the American company's business, according to The Guardian. In 2017, when he became president, he advocated an expansion of Uber, which was opposed by local taxi drivers.
Parliamentary faction of the party “Unconquered France” intends to advocate the creation of an investigative commission to study the connections of the country's President Emmanuel Macron with the Uber taxi ordering service.
The French newspaper Le Monde concluded that Macron, by entering into a secret agreement with the company, violated the established taxi rules. According to Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel, Macron was actually helping corrupt businesses instead of protecting French citizens. Other French politicians are of a similar opinion, who say that “France is not run by the president, but by the lobby.”
The documents also say that Uber representatives met not only with Macron, but also with Joe Biden when he served as Vice President of the United States (from 2009 to 2017), as well as with former advisers to Barack Obama, who served as President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
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