Uber Accused of Corporate Espionage, Bribery

Image: PHOTO: Uber App on smartphone. (photo via Flickr/freestocks.org)
Image: PHOTO: Uber App on smartphone. (photo via Flickr/freestocks.org)
Monica Poling
by Monica Poling
Last updated: 2:52 PM ET, Sat December 16, 2017

Beleaguered ride-share company Uber is facing more bad news this week after damning details have emerged in a letter written by a former Uber employee. According to the letter, the ride-share company's Threat Operations Unit was developed to help the company achieve its business goals, "through illegal conduct even though equally aggressive legal means were available to achieve the same end."

According to Market Watch, the letter includes allegations of wiretapping, hacking and bribery, in part carried out by CIA-trained spies working for the company.

Uber, which is currently engaged in a $1.9 billion civil battle with Waymo over self-driving technology, could see its defense disintegrate with the new revelations.

In its case, Waymo, owned by Google-parent Alphabet, Inc., has accused a former Uber employee, Anthony Levandowski, of illegally obtaining 14,000 confidential documents which were then utilized to enhance similar technology developed by Uber.

In November, Uber purchased 24,000 Volvos to add to its expanding self-driving fleet, shortly after Waymo announced an expansion of its own driverless technology.

On November 29, some details of Jacob's letter came to light after Waymo lawyers accused Uber of withholding the document.

At that time, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote, "With regard to the allegations outlined in [Richard] Jacobs' letter, I can tell you that we have not been able to substantiate every one of his claims, including any related to Waymo. But I will also say that there is more than enough there to merit serious concern."

Jacobs first penned the letter upon leaving Uber, which he said had become a "hostile" environment after he spoke up about concerns over the Threat Operations unit. Jacobs was seeking $21 million from Uber, but the company ultimately settled for $7 million on the condition Jacobs not go public with the letter's details.

The letter was made public on Friday in a 19-page opinion after the court determined that Uber should have produced the document for Waymo attorneys.

This is just the latest new to rock Uber in a turbulent year for the company.

Khosrowshahi became Uber's CEO in August after former CEO Travis Kalanick announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence. Kalanick's departure came just as former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. announced findings of an investigation of sexual harassment claims at the ride-share company.

Topics From This Article to Explore

Get To Know Us Better

Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me
Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me

Become A Travel Expert

Upcoming Event
Destination Leisure Travel ExpoOctober 11-12 2-5PM ETDestination Leisure Travel Expo
Upcoming Event
Culinary & Wellness Travel ExpoNovember 15-16 2-5PM ETCulinary & Wellness Travel Expo
Watch Now!
Porter Airlines WebinarSEP 28 2PM ETJoin Porter's webinar and learn how we are turning the idea of economy air travel "upside down".
Upcoming Event
Destination Leisure Travel ExpoOctober 11-12 2-5PM ETDestination Leisure Travel Expo
Upcoming Event
Culinary & Wellness Travel ExpoNovember 15-16 2-5PM ETCulinary & Wellness Travel Expo
Watch Now!
Porter Airlines WebinarSEP 28 2PM ETJoin Porter's webinar and learn how we are turning the idea of economy air travel "upside down".