August 30, 2017

DOJ Investigating Uber for Foreign Bribes

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

A new story from the Wall Street Journal reveals that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating whether Uber managers provided bribes to foreign officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  The FCPA broadly prohibits American companies from seeking a competitive advantage through bribes to foreign officials.

Under the leadership of co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, Uber pursued an aggressive expansion strategy abroad, seeking a competitive edge in the growing ride-share market.  The company made heavy investments in countries like Russia and China only to lose out to preferred local competitors.  In Europe, Uber has clashed with officials seeking to regulate the company as an ordinary taxi service.  The Wall Street Journal did not specify which countries are at issue in the investigation.

News of the probe comes just as Uber officially announced its new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.  Mr. Khosrowshahi, formerly the CEO of Expedia, joins Uber amid a series of ongoing setbacks, including allegations of sexual harassment, regulatory challenges, and legal battles.  Indeed, the company already faces another federal investigation into “Greyball” software it used to evade government officials in areas where the ride-share service had not yet been approved.

According to the Wall Street Journal, DOJ is still in the preliminary stages of its FCPA investigation.  Depending on its findings, DOJ could open a broader investigation into potential FCPA violations at Uber.   That company has confirmed the probe and stated that it is cooperating with investigators.

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