The DOJ has taken “preliminary steps” to investigate if managers at Uber Technologies Inc. violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Wall Street Journal said Tuesday.
The story cited as sources “people familiar with the matter” but didn’t name them.
Reporters Douglas MacMillan and Aruna Viswanatha said “an Uber spokesman confirmed the company is cooperating with the Justice Department on the preliminary investigation.”
The DOJ doesn’t comment on ongoing FCPA investigations and wouldn’t confirm or deny that Uber is a target.
The report said the DOJ “has begun to review allegations” that Uber violated the FCPA.
“Based on what it finds, the Justice Department may or may not decide to open a full-fledged FCPA investigation into Uber,” the WSJ said.
Uber’s board hired a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi from Expedia Inc., to lead the ride-hailing company. He starts work today.
Former CEO Travis Kalanick left the Silicon Valley start-up in June after eight years. Key shareholders accused him of creating a toxic corporate culture. Specific allegations included sexual harassment and discrimination and being overly aggressive toward law enforcement agencies.
The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday,
Under former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick, the eight-year-old company spread rapidly to more than 70 countries around the world in part by giving regional teams authority to adapt to local markets and expand as quickly as possible, sometimes flouting local laws.
The WSJ didn’t name countries where FCPA offenses might have occurred.
But is said Uber had violated transportation laws in South Korea and France. And in Singapore, local managers “bought more than 1,000 defective cars last year and rented them out to drivers, only fixing the safety defect after one of the cars caught on fire,” the WSJ said.
Separately, the DOJ has reportedly launched a criminal investigation into “Greyball” practices at Uber. Managers allegedly developed special software to identify law enforcement or other government officials and avoid giving them rides.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.