Uber Faces Bribery Probe the Same Day New CEO Accepts Job

Newly-appointed CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has his work cut out for him.

Hemant Mishra/Mint

Uber faces a preliminary U.S. Justice Department investigation into possible violations of bribery laws. The company confirmed the probe on Tuesday, the same day that former Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi was confirmed as the company's new CEO, according to Reuters.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed a "preliminary investigation" to Reuters following a Wall Street Journal report that the Justice Department was looking into whether Uber managers violated U.S. laws against bribing foreign officials, specifically the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

It is unclear what specific case or cases investigators might be focusing on. Reports in June indicated Eric Alexander, then Uber's Asia Pacific president, obtained confidential medical records of an Indian woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014. Some employees have accused Alexander of using bribes to obtain the records, according to Reuters.

Obtaining a person's confidential medical records is illegal in the U.S., and may have violated Indian laws, as well. Uber's ongoing legal battle with Waymo over self-driving car intellectual property and its use of "Greyball" software to circumvent regulators have also attracted the attention of the federal government in recent months.

News of the bribery investigation broke just as Uber confirmed Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO. Khosrowshahi was chosen by the Uber board Sunday, but the decision wasn't made official until Tuesday. Reuters reported that Khosrowshahi emailed employees at Expedia, which he has led since 2005, telling them he accepted the Uber CEO job "with truly mixed feelings."