Report on Macron’s ‘secret Uber deal’ released

Lazy eyes listen


Uber has been chastised by a French parliamentary inquiry for its aggressive and illegal entry into the French market. MPs acknowledged that politicians including as President Emmanuel Macron had acted as allies for the corporation, but they were unable to prove any crime on their part.

“The confidentiality and intensity of contacts between Uber and Macron… attest to an opaque but privileged relationship, and reveal our system’s inability to measure and prevent the influence of private interests on public decision-making,” according to the 500-page report.

The investigation was sparked by the so-called Uber Files, a collection of internal documents released by an insider to the British publication The Guardian. According to media reports last year, Macron, who served as Economy Minister from 2014 to 2016, was in touch with Uber.

Macron was accused in particular of making a “secret deal” with French cabinet members that made it easier for the ride-hailing app to enlist new drivers. In exchange, it apparently agreed to shut down the contentious sister service UberPop, which was the target of taxi drivers’ complaints.

According to the report, the officials in question denied the existence of any arrangement under oath. Mark MacGann, the Uber whistleblower who was once the company’s head lobbyist for Europe, also stated that he would not refer to the political arrangement as a “deal” because the term implies “a suitcase of money was exchanged.” Overall, the commission stated that it found no conflicts of interest, hidden objectives, or dereliction of duty in French officials’ activities.

However, there is also evidence of internal disputes among probe members, which Radio France attributes to political differences between the body’s president, Benjamin Haddad, a personal ally of Macron, and its rapporteur, left-wing opposition MP Danielle Simonnet.

Simonnet expressed concern that the commission had not interviewed any former members of Macron’s office during his tenure as economy minister, citing “systematic opposition” from some parliamentary investigators. If questioned, they may have provided “additional insights,” she alleged.

The commission chastised Uber for its “cynicism” in lobbying officials and evading law enforcement, and verified that it had failed to deliver on its pledge to generate jobs in France.