The role of the European Union’s ex-digital chief in lobbying for Uber will be investigated by OLAF, the EU agency that hunts fraud and misconduct in the EU institutions.
Uber’s lobbying practices from 2013 to 2017 were made public in July by a group of journalists in what they called the Uber Files, based on a trove of documents leaked by former Uber executive Mark MacGann.
The reports alleged that former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes lobbied on behalf of the ride-hailing company by offering to set up meetings between EU officials and company executives during her “cooling period” after leaving the European Commission from November 2014 until May 2016.
OLAF’s press office told POLITICO that “following a preliminary evaluation of the allegations brought to OLAF’s attention, the Director General of OLAF has decided to open an investigation.” It said it cannot confirm or deny the involvement of any “natural or legal” persons.
“Relevant information” was requested by OLAF from the Commission this summer.
The Commission has also written to Kroes seeking “clarification on the information presented in the media.” Quizzed by European lawmakers, the Commission has repeatedly said it is “looking into the matter.”
Members of the European Parliament have decided to set an October 25 hearing to examine issues arising from the Uber Files. They have invited whistleblower MacGann and a representative from the Commission. Kroes is not on the guest list.
Uber has previously said it won’t “make excuses for past behavior that is clearly not in line with our present values.”
News outlet Follow The Money reported earlier on the OLAF probe.
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