Journalists exposed Uber to secret lobbying interests and violation of laws

Sofiia Telishevska

The international technology company Uber secretly lobbied for its interests before governments and politicians of countries around the world and also broke laws to gain an advantage in the market.

This is evidenced by the leak of confidential files, which were studied by The Guardian. The cache of files spans the period from 2013 to 2017 and includes more than 83,000 emails, iMessages and WhatsApp messages.

The files also contain correspondence between company co-founder Travis Kalanick with the team and various politicians, including Emmanuel Macron, who was then economy minister and lobbied for Uberʼs interests.

Kalanick also mocked Olaf Scholz, who, as the mayor of Hamburg, spoke out against Uber lobbyists and insisted on paying drivers the minimum wage.

There is even a mention of a meeting with Joe Biden, after which the then vice president of the United States allegedly changed his speech in Davos, mentioning the CEO of Uber, whose company "will give millions of workers the freedom to work as many hours as they want, to manage their lives as they want."

In addition, Uber executives met face-to-face with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and George Osborne, then Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The investigation also shows that Uber avoided paying taxes by moving profits offshore. At the same time, the company helped the authorities collect taxes from its drivers.

In response to the leak, Uber acknowledged "mistakes and miscalculations" and said the company had transformed since 2017 under the leadership of its current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.

"We have not and will not justify past behavior that clearly does not correspond to our current values. Instead, we ask the public to judge us based on what we have done over the past five years and what we will do in the coming years," the company said in a statement.