22 September 2017
MaGIC denies quid pro quo arrangement with Uber
THE Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) today denied involvement in any quid pro quo arrangement in relation to Uber.
“Earlier this week, we were surprised to find ourselves named in an article that levelled serious accusations at the way Uber has operated in the region,” said chief executive officer Ashran Ghazi in a statement.
He said the agency regularly collaborated with corporates, connecting them with Malaysia’s leading entrepreneurial talent to help build a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Ashran said these strategic partnerships had helped inspire and nurture young entrepreneurs at the ideation stage.
The bribery allegation was related to MaGIC’s Asean Next Great Idea (ANGI), which was co-organised by MaGIC, Uber and another corporate partner, and launched in August last year.
In the collaboration, MaGIC compiled content, planned modules and marketed the programme to woo Asean participants, while Uber was responsible for the ideation lab. The third partner provided the start-up strategy.
“Similar to our other collaborations with corporates, ANGI was subjected to stringent controls and proper procedures,” said Ashran.
“We uphold the highest standards of integrity in all of our programmes and the way in which we conduct our operations.” – Bernama, September 22, 2017.
DAP MP accuses BN of spin to shift focus over Uber investment scrutiny
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 ― Claims that DAP are against the legalisation of e-hailing services is an attempt to shift focus away from an ongoing bribery probe involving Putrajaya-backed institutions and Uber, DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said today.
In a statement, Liew said that Barisan Nasional strategic communications team’s claims that DAP was against the legalisation of both Grab and Uber was “malicious”.
Liew had earlier called on Putrajaya to respond to reports that Uber is now reviewing a web financial arrangements made by its operations in Malaysia to determine if there was any quid pro quo involved before the government legalised ride-sharing businesses earlier this year.
“Instead of addressing the real concerns, Barisan Nasional Strategic Communication Team tried to shift attention by alleging that the DAP wants to ban e-hailing and does not want e-hailing to be legalised. There is no need to twist and turn the facts,” Liew said.
According to a Bloomberg report, Uber is looking into a US$30 million (RM125.9 million) investment that Malaysia’s Retirement Fund Inc made in Uber last year, and a donation made by Uber to the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre at the same time.
Read more at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/dap-mp-accuses-bn-of-spin-to-shift-focus-over-uber-investment-scrutiny#r4gRvfX2pgYo1Zfs.99
20 September 2017
US investigators probing into Uber’s dealings with Putrajaya
Uber’s lawyers are looking into a donation to the Malaysian Global Initiative and Creativity Centre last year if there was any element of quid pro quo. – EPA pic, September 20, 2017.
UBER Technologies Inc’s dealings with the Malaysian government are being scrutinised by investigators in the United States looking into whether the ride-hailing service broke US bribery laws in its operations in five Asian countries, Bloomberg reports today.
The revelation comes as Uber has embarked on a review of its Asia operations and notified US officials about payments made by staff in Indonesia, sources told the financial news portal. The US Department of Justice is also looking into the case.
The tech giant has also engaged lawyers to examine records of foreign payments and interview employees on suspicious activity in at least five Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.
The law firm is reviewing a web of financial arrangements linked to Putrajaya that may have influenced MPs, Bloomberg cited sources as saying.
Uber’s law firm is probing into a corporate donation, announced in August last, of tens of thousands of dollars to the Malaysian Global Initiative and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), a government initiative to nurture start-ups. It was launched by then US president Barrack Obama in 2013 is chaired by Treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah
The reports said about the time of the donation, pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan invested US$30 million (RM125 million) in Uber, said people familiar with the deal.
Less than a year later, the government passed laws that were favourable to Uber and other ride-hailing services.
Uber’s lawyers are trying to determine whether there was any form of quid pro quo.
Attorneys are focused on suspicious activity in at least five Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea, Bloomberg said, adding that Uber’s law firm is reviewing financial arrangements tied to the Malaysian government that may have influenced lawmakers there.
“ARRANGEMENTS TIED TO MALAYSIAN GOVT”
In Malaysia, Bloomberg reports attorneys working with Uber are “reviewing a web of financial arrangements tied to the Malaysian government that may have influenced lawmakers there”.
Uber’s law firm Bloomberg reported “is also investigating a corporate donation, announced in August 2016, of tens of thousands of dollars to the Malaysian Global Initiative and Creativity Centre, a government-backed entrepreneur hub”.
It went on to add that around that time, Malaysian pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan “invested $30 million in Uber, said people familiar with the deal” and less than a year later, “the Malaysian government passed national ride-hailing laws that were favorable to Uber and its peers”.
The report added: “Lawyers are trying to determine whether there was any form of quid pro quo.”
An Uber rep in Malaysia told Channel NewsAsia they are “cooperating with the investigation”.
The rep also said: “Beyond that, we won’t be able to comment since this is an ongoing investigation.”
(Additional reporting by Sumisha Naidu in Kuala Lumpur)
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/uber-reviews-asia-business-over-bribery-allegations-in-us-report-9232692
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