Shareholder sues Uber for failing to disclose 'illicit business tactics'

The lawsuit mentions multiple instances of Uber's false and misleading statements relating to growth and revenuesSpencer Platt/Getty Images

Uber and its former CEO Travis Kalanick have been sued by a small shareholder in the company for allegedly failing to disclose "a variety of illicit business tactics" to its investors.

The class-action lawsuit – brought by Irving Firemen's Relief & Retirement, a Texas-based retirement fund that invested $2m in Uber – accuses the ride-hailing giant of knowingly misleading its investors in order to raise billions of dollars. Its unlawful practices, according to the complaint, have affected its reputation and business prospects, causing significant harm to the shareholders.

"Kalanick and Uber failed to disclose that, in order to show strong short-term growth, the Company was employing and plotting to employ a variety of illicit business tactics that threatened Uber's business, reputation and long-term prospects," the suit reads.

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It mentions multiple instances of Uber's false and misleading statements relating to growth and revenues, competition, corporate culture, compliance with regulatory laws, and focus on innovation and new technologies.

"The company's vaunted corporate culture was revealed to in truth consist of a toxic hotbed of misogyny, sexual discrimination, and disregard for the law that threatened the company's reputation, business and prospects," according to the complaint.

It further adds that Uber didn't disclose that it probably flouted laws with the development and use of Greyball – a tool to deceive authorities – and Hell tool – to spy on its competitor.

The lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco federal court, does not mention the amount the retirement fund seeks from the ride-hailing giant but notes that the company has lost as much as $18bn in market value due to a plethora of controversies. Uber has not yet commented on the suit.

Uber is one of the most popular ride-sharing firms on the planet, but over last few years, the company has drawn a lot of flak due to scandals and lawsuits. Currently, the company is facing a trade-secret lawsuit by Waymo and three other federal probes, which includes one for foreign bribery.

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