Uber has paid scientists hundreds of thousands of dollars to write reports that have benefited the taxi company, reports the British newspaper The Guardian based on published documents. There are also indications that the Dutch tax authorities have broken rules in favor of Uber.
The last few days there is a lot to do around Uber. This is because a former employee of the company has leaked tens of thousands of documents to various media in the Netherlands and abroad.
It shows, among other things, that Uber has paid several leading professors in Europe and the United States to write reports on how positive Uber’s business model has been. These included professors in France and Germany. It is not clear whether Dutch scientists were also involved.
The reports were to show that Uber provided high-paying, fun jobs, cheap transportation and productivity. Reports said Uber was involved in its creation.
Uber came under fire for UberPop
It is primarily about the years halfway through the last decade. During that period, Uber came under considerable shelling, especially because of the UberPop service. By using that platform, anyone could offer taxi services without a license. The company also launched this service in the Netherlands, which went against both domestic and foreign rules.
Uber would still go ahead and put political and social pressure to get the rules adjusted so UberPop was allowed. The paid scientists’ reports were used for this. In addition to paying scientists, the company has also hired former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
She joined the company in 2016 as a lobbyist. But before this became official, she would have already started talking to politicians about Uber. It is against European lobbying rules. The European Commission has now asked Kroes to provide further information on its activities to the carrier.
The French president also criticized
Kroes is not the only top politician under fire. French President Emmanuel Macron has also been criticized. He would have been in close contact with Uber during his time as finance minister. The opposition parties now think he is listening too much to big companies.
According to FD The tax and customs authorities should also have supported Uber, whose European headquarters are located in Amsterdam. The leaked documents, also in the newspaper’s possession, show that the agency has deliberately delayed requests for information from other countries.
In addition, employees of the IRS have passed on important information to the carrier, and the service has argued for a favorable tax treatment of Uber in other countries. The company itself states in the documents that it had a “very valuable relationship” with the Dutch tax authorities.
The IRS denies allegations
The Ministry of Taxation denies the allegations. The service says it has not delayed requests for information from other countries. The IRS has been in contact with other countries and Uber about tax technical matters, but no rules were allegedly violated.
Uber does not deny the allegations, but states in a statement that it has become a completely different company since the middle of the last decade, partly because the then CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO in 2017. The company also reports, that the vast majority of current employees only started working after Kalanick left.
Kroes also denies the allegations. She points to her role as special ambassador for start-ups.
There is also a defense from Macron’s camp. It is true that he had contact with companies under his ministry, but that, according to him, is the logical approach for a finance minister. Nothing would have happened during the contact that was unacceptable.