After spending the first half of 2017 plagued with a brutal workplace scandal, Uber is under fire, yet again, for an all-new scandal.
Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that an Uber staff member in Indonesia bribed a local police official. The company has notified the US government of this and is now under investigation for its Asia operation or if they broke any bribery laws.
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According to reports, Uber’s Indonesian division approached Jakarta police for providing support to their drivers and allow them to drive in a particular locality that hasn’t been named. However, the police official declined to comply with them, saying the particular location was outside the zone allotted to businesses for carrying out their operations. But in order to get the job done, an Uber employee gave the police official a lot of money in multiple payments. The employee was caught when the transactions showed up on his expense report with a description of “payments to local authorities”.
Following this incident, the employee was fired and Uber’s Indonesia head was put on a leave of absence. He has now left the company.
Uber initially kept this information from US officials however this decision came to bite them when the US Justice Department approached the company about possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Uber has since disclosed all information to the justice department.
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While Uber is under examination for a possible criminal case, it is carrying on an internal investigation as well. Together with its law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Uber is examining all foreign payments and interviewing its employees to find out why this information wasn’t disclosed sooner. Moreover, Uber’s lawyers are also trying to find out whether the company’s employees in Indonesia had any financial arrangements with government officials there that might have influenced the passing of ride-hailing laws which turned out to be favorable for Uber.
Investigations are also being made into a large donation that the company made to the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre and a $30 million investment in Uber by a Malaysian pension fund.
This has been a tough year for Uber so far. First, it’s CEO Tarvis Kalanick resigned. Then it was revealed that the company has been sued 433 times this year alone. And now this emerging criminal scandal does not ring good news for Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.