KUCHING: Investigators with the Department of Justice of the United States are looking into the dealings between UBER Technologies Inc (Uber) with the Malaysian government.
The investigations are to determine whether the company has broken US bribery laws in its operations in five Asian countries including Malaysia, said Bloomberg.
Amid extra probes, Uber itself was also checking into its books to examine records of foreign payments and interviewing employees on suspicious activity and payments in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.
Uber’s lawyers are also looking into “a web of financial arrangement tied to the Malaysian government that may have influenced lawmakers there,” Bloomberg was quoted as saying.
Uber is conducting internal investigations “on a corporate donation, announced in Aug 2016, of tens of thousands of dollars to the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), a government-backed entrepreneur hub”.
It was reported that around that time, a Malaysian pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan invested RM30 million in Uber.
“Less than a year later, the Malaysian government passed national ride-hailing laws that were favourable to Uber and its peers.”
“Lawyers (of Uber) are trying to determine whether there was any form of quid pro quo,” Bloomberg reported.
Last year, Uber ran into trouble with Indonesian police as their office in Jakarta providing support for Uber drivers was outside city zoning for businesses. An amount was reportedly paid to the police so Uber could continue its operation. The transactions showed up as “payments to local authorities” in its account.
The employee was fired and the company’s head of Indonesian business did not respond to requests for comment.