Uber paid scientists in Europe and the US to influence the media | NOW

Uber paid scientists hundreds of thousands of dollars to write reports that benefited the taxi company, British newspaper reports 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 prominent professors in Europe and the US to write reports on how positive Uber’s business model has been. In Europe, it happened, for example, 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. The reports said that Uber was involved in its creation.

Uber came under fire for UberPop

It mainly concerns the years in the middle of the last decade. During that period, Uber came under considerable fire, particularly over its UberPop service. 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 regulations.

Uber wanted to continue anyway and apply political and social pressure to have the rules adjusted, so UberPop was allowed. The paid scientists’ reports were used for this. In addition to paying scientists, the company also used 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 additional information about its activities for the transport company.

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 believe that he pays too much attention to big companies.

According to F.D HMRC should also have backed Uber, whose European headquarters are in Amsterdam. The leaked documents, which are also in the daily’s possession, show that the agency has deliberately delayed requests for information from other countries.

In addition, Tax and Customs employees would have passed on important information to the transport company, and the service would have argued for a favorable tax treatment for 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 claims

The Ministry of Taxation denies the accusations. The service says it has not delayed requests for information from other countries. The Swedish Tax Agency has had contact with other countries and Uber about tax technical matters, but no rules were allegedly violated.

Uber itself 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 then-CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick stepped down 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 a special ambassador for start-up companies.

There is also a defense from Macron’s camp. It is true that he had contact with companies under his ministry, but this, according to him, is the logical course of action for an economy minister. Nothing would have happened during the contact that was unacceptable.

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