Hundreds of leaked files have revealed how Uber has bribed top politicians, evaded inspections, and how far it has gone to evade justice. They detail how Uber has received help from leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes. But there have also been criminal cases in Belgium that have never seen the light of day. The Uber files are a collection of more than 124,000 documents leaked by the British newspaper The Guardian. De Tejd and Knack also investigated the case.
What is Uber?
Uber is an American company that acts as an intermediary between travelers and taxi drivers. Via the mobile app, people can quickly contact a nearby driver. Uber is active in 72 countries and hundreds of cities, including Brussels.
Uber has completely turned the taxi business upside down in recent years. In many cities, traditional taxi drivers have protested against Uber’s competition in recent years, with taxi drivers often operating as individuals and unlicensed.
The files cover 40 countries and span the period from 2013 to 2017. This is the period in which Uber has grown from a spunky startup to a global giant. Uber’s 124,000 internal files reveal the ethically questionable practices the company has used to enter new markets. There were often laws or regulations that made their activities illegal, but they started pushing hard to get what they wanted.
As Minister of Economy, Emmanuel Macron has made extraordinary efforts to support Uber. He even told the company that he had made a “deal” with his opponents in the French government. Despite numerous protests from taxi drivers and the illegal basis, Uber has been able to continue to operate its services through its network. Two of Barack Obama’s top advisers, David Plouffe and Jim Messina, are also known to have helped Uber gain access to leaders, officials, and diplomats.
In addition, he ordered top Uber executives to use an “emergency button” to prevent police and regulators from accessing sensitive data during raids on Uber offices. With the push of a button, all data is instantly protected. This way they can hide tax evasion and other bad practices.
Former European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes secretly lobbied for US tech company Uber in 2015 and 2016, even after the European Commission explicitly barred her from taking a position at the company. Cross has reached out to government officials, senior officials, and Prime Minister Mark Root on behalf of Uber. The billion-dollar company wanted to influence taxi legislation and the criminal investigation of Uber through its crossover.
The files also revealed violations in our country. For example, Uber sent a private investigator to its main competitors in Brussels. The task was not only to map the structure of the company, but also to examine the links of these companies with politicians or aldermen.
In addition, they also monitored government services. When Uber took office in our capital, they did not comply with tax, social and safety rules. So Brussels Mobility instructed mystery shoppers in 2015 to catch Uber and its drivers as undercover customers. People from Uber have also infiltrated these mystery shoppers in order to find out where and when the checks are.
In June 2022, the Brussels Parliament approved the reform of the taxi sector in Brussels. In addition to traditional taxi companies, platforms such as Uber will also be given a legal and legal framework. In Flanders, taxi rules were revised two years ago for services like Uber. This does not solve all legal problems yet.
The old criminal files against Uber have yet to be prosecuted. “The council chamber has combined two files in which a civil complaint was filed against Uber – by the Brussels-Capital Region and a number of taxi companies,” Willemian Burt, a spokeswoman for the Brussels Public Prosecutor’s Office, was quoted as saying by the newspaper. Together, these files have been referred to the French-speaking Police Court in Brussels, where they are still under consideration. The case will be heard in September 2022.”
Uber couriers who deliver meals are being investigated at the Public Prosecutor of Labor in Brussels. Several violations were found during the inspections. It relates to illegal work and not being subject to social status.
Uber says founder Travis Kalanick has never authorized actions or programs that would obstruct justice in any country. “It is almost certain that reporters and individuals involved in covering these issues already use Uber on a regular basis. This shows exactly how meaningful Uber has become around the world.”
Watch also: Uber protest caused traffic chaos in Brussels last winter
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